Thursday, January 11, 2018

Kitchen capers

I've always been a nester. A decorator.  Someone who likes to fiddle and fuss with her home until it's perfect. Except my perfect isn't perfect, it's comfortable

I like old things, pieces that have some history and life to them.  And I like color.  Lots of it.  And prints.  Nothing will make me crazy faster than white walls.

The new house has all white walls.

But these aren't bad; it feels like the previous owners, an older couple, left me a lovely blank slate to start with. 

Take the kitchen.  It's dated. It's probably the tiredest room in the house, but I like it.  The layout is very comfortable for the way I cook. It's big enough for a table and chairs and two of my vintage freestanding cabinets, and the existing kitchen cabinets are all in really good shape.  They're just dark, and make it feel gloomy.

Enter paint, my favorite thing.  Cabinets will be lightly sanded, and painted cream to match my vintage ones. New hardware.  Walls are going to be a warm squash/orange color called "guppy."  I'll reuse my current curtains and some of the art, and I think with very little money or effort, this will become a bright, cheery room where I will love to spend time.

My current kitchen, much as I adore it, looks out onto the alley and gets no direct sunlight.  These photos were taken on New Years Eve in the afternoon and are still bright.

Oh, and that light fixture?  Its days are numbered.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Third time's the charm

After the house fell through, there was another one we liked.

Turns out they got an offer on that one while we were walking through.

This is house #3. Actually, it's about house #12, but the third serious option.

It's just big enough. 1200 square feet.  Roughly half the size of our current living space.

What color wine goes with panic?

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Book sale

So, packing. Packing sucks.

Books are easy to pack, but heavy, and I have far too many of them.  I'm culling the sewing shelves first, and what appears here are either duplicates, unused for far too long, or not likely to be used and I'd rather they found a new home.

All books priced are priced to sell.  Photos and links are from Amazon, so you can read more about them and see current pricing.  Shipping will be via media mail, and I'll let you know the cost when you claim the book.  Discounts will be given for multiple book purchases.  Payment via PayPal only.

Contact me via email at karen6790 @ msn . com (without all the spaces) to let me know what books you want.

Famous Frocks, Sara Alm & Hannah McDevitt.  Includes 10 patterns.   Excellent condition.  Hardcover. $10.

Making Trousers for Men & Women, David Page Coffin.  Includes CD.  Excellent condition.  Paperback.  $7.50 SOLD

The Bishop Method of Clothing Construction, Edna Bishop.  Revised edition.  Some edge wear, but good condition overall.  Fabulous resource; I have an extra copy of this that isn't leaving my shelves.  Paperback.  $5

Cool Couture, Kenneth D. King. Excellent condition, signed copy from PatternReview weekend 2010 in Philadelphia.  Paperback.  $7.50

Designer Bead Embroidery, Kenneth King.  150 Patterns and complete techniques.  Excellent condition and gorgeous resource, but my embroidery doesn't tend toward the beaded and it should find its person.  Paperback.  $10

Pattern Magic, Tomoko Nakamichi.  English version.  Excellent condition.  I've stared at this book until my eyes crossed, but I know I'm never going to make any of these garments.  Paperback.  $10 SOLD

Fashion Designer's Directory of Shape & Style, Simon Travers-Spencer and Zarida Zaman.  Very useful resource, very good condition.  Paperback.  $5 SOLD

Fashion Design Drawing Course, Caroline Tatham & Julian Seaman.  "Principles, practice & Techniques, an ultimate guide for the aspiring fashion artist.  Retired library book with stamp in back cover and sticker on spine.  Very good condition.  Paperback.  This one is a freebie-with-purchase (and shipping), or for cost-of-shipping only.  SOLD

Bridal Couture, Susan Khalje, intro by Claire Shaeffer.  Fine sewing techniques for wedding gowns and evening wear.  Slight edge wear, but very good condition otherwise.  Hard to find.  Paperback.  $20 SOLD

Secrets of the Couturiers, Frances Kennett.  Very good condition.  Some of the fashions are dated, but others are vintage, and all the techniques and illustrations are solid.  Hardcover.  $5 

Fine Machine Sewing, Carol Laflin Ahles.  Machine methids to get the look of hand finishing and embellishing.  Paperback.  $7

High Fashion Sewing Secrets from the world's best designers, Claire B. Shaeffer.  A step-by-step guide to sewing stylish seams, buttonholes, pockets, collars, hems & more.  Retired library book, a few stamps and a label on spine, but the book is sound, with only a bit of edge wear.  The styles may be a bit dated, but the information is great.  (It's Claire Shaeffer, after all).  Hardcover.  $7

Art Deco Textiles - The French Designers, Alain-Rene Hardy.  A beautiful reference of 1920s-1930s French textiles.  Paperback.c  $5

Patternmaking for Fashion Design, Helen Joseph Armstrong.  Classic textbook.  1987 edition, dated clothing but fantastic instruction.  Some writing in book, but does not obscure the information.  Definite wear on spine and edges.  Hardcover. $10

In Vogue - 60 years of celebrities and fashion from British Vogue, Georgina Howell.  Significant edge and spine wear - I've had this since the 1980s - but the pages are still clean and tightly bound, and it shows just about every person and outfit worth seeing that ever appeared in Vogue.  Oversized paperback.  This is another freebie-with-purchase (and shipping) or free with cost-of-shipping.   

Fashion Illustration - Figure Drawing.  Another good fashion illustration reference.  Another freebie-with-purchase (and shipping) or free with cost-of-shipping.  Hardcover.

The Dressmaker's Dictionary, Ann Ladbury.  Ex-library book, a few stamps and clear protective cover.  Good vintage general reference book.  Hardcover.  $3 SOLD

Singer Sewing Book, Mary Brooks Picken. 1954 edition.  (Amazon listing is for the 1949 edition, this has a slightly different cover).  Ex-library book, clear plastic protective cover.  Contains lots of vintage fashion illustrations, along with technical drawings and home dec instruction.  Hardcover.  $5 SOLD

The Complete Illustrated Stitch Encyclopedia, Crafter's Choice.  No dust jacket, but book in excellent condition.  A great reference, but a very common and inexpensive one, so another freebie-with-purchase or for cost-of-shipping only.

BiblioCraft: Using Library Resources to Jumpstart Creative Projects, Jessica Pigza.  Excellent condition.  Gorgeous, inspirational book.  It's done its work here, time for it to move along.  Hardcover.  $7

The Complete Book of Sewing:  Dressmaking and Sewing for the Home Made Easy, Constance Talbot.  Vintage 1943 first edition, great wartime fashion illustrations.  Minor wear to the spine and a little to the bottom corners.  Hardcover.  $15 SOLD

The Art of Sewing - Traditional Favorites, Time-Life Books.  1974 book with fabulous 1970s fashion illustrations.  Chapters include: A Brilliant Renaissance, A Legacy of Sewing Techniques, Fabrics by Patchwork, and Traditional Needlecrafts.  Lots of photos and technical illustrations.  Hardcover, with split to the spine but no loose pages.  This is a freebie-with-purchase or cost-of-shipping book.

Please, for the love of all the sewing gods, take some of these off my hands.  Email me directly with your shopping list, I'll mark books off as they sell.  

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Tell me something good

Katie, proving again that cats have no
concept of personal space.
Here is an idea shamelessly stolen from a friend on Facebook.

This has been a tough year, for most of us and for many reasons, and I have found myself feeling a bit worn down.  With the new year upon us, and reflecting on the past year, it can be disheartening.

But then my friend said, "Can you tell me one good thing that happened to you this year?"

Even in a challenging year, there have been amazing bright spots.

Here are a few of mine:  in October, I paid off my house.  Now we can look for a new place that is OURS.  I also worked out a way to work for myself and others without losing my mind. Mostly. I  made some wonderful new crafting friends.  I survived sewing summer camp.

So what is yours? Tell me something good.


I know, I know, the holidays are over.

But I forgot to post my favorite stocking, and a few days before Christmas I got a last-minute order for one of these.

I made my first one a few years ago as a gift for a friend who owns a small farm and has several sheep, one of whom was grumpy. It's been a pretty steady seller ever since. It probably appeals more to the grumpy than the sheep farmer; I don't know very many of those.

Here's hoping your holidays were merry and bright. If you don't celebrate, or if you celebrated but would rather not have, I hope you made it through with your attitude intact and ready to face the new year.

Friday, December 29, 2017

A.Christmas story

So this girl here has nothing really to do with our Christmas, but she looks a hell of a lot nicer than water around the base of the water heater 3 days before Christmas.

Water is never good. I've learned that over my years of homeownership.

I left a message for the plumber, hoping he wasn't away for the holidays. We spoke the next morning and he said he would be able to get to us on the morning of the 26th to replace it. That left us 3 days with no hot water. So on the evening of the 23rd, we took our last showers, dried off, and drained the tank. We were going to Mario's mom's for Christmas Eve, and I did not want to spend the entire day worrying that something would go even more wrong and we would come home to 40 gallons of water everywhere.

I really shouldn't have been surprised. The water heater was installed just before I bought the house, so that makes it just under 18 years old. The standard lifespan of one of those tanks is 10 years, so it's been on borrowed time for a long time.

As for the doll, she was a special order just before the holiday, sent out via FedEx, which cost more than the doll.  The little girl's request was, "tan skin, blue eyes, pink, blue and purple hair, a princess crown, and a pink fancy dress."

The hair was done with pink fabric as the base, and all 3 colors of yarn on top.  The crown was a piece of rhinestone trim I've been carting around for 30+ years.  The sparkly silver necklace was some novelty yarn.  And she ended up with a pink tulle wrap.  Originally I was going to use it for her skirt, but then I remembered I'd rather stick needles in my eyes than sew with her.

In other news, the house search continues. Hopefully I will have something to report within the next week.

Monday, December 18, 2017

So long, farewell

Grace and Frankie moved out on Thursday of this week.  I haven't had them for too long, but they've been down (non-laying, not earning their keep) due to molt for the last month-plus, which made it easier to come to the decision to find them a new home.

Our new town hasn't legalized chickens (yet), and between the stress of moving the two of us and four cats, plus the added stress of our recent purchase derailment, I decided that moving two fragile creatures in the middle of winter was a fairly dumb idea.

I'll bring the coop with us, and if (when) chickens are legalized in Lansdowne, I'll get a few new girls.  In the meantime, the coop can live in the garage, and we can get settled in without having to worry whether or not the birds are warm enough in their new backyard, if there's more threat of predators, etc.

The girls went to Greensgrow Farm, our local garden supply/farmers market a few blocks away.  They already have a few chickens, and a much larger space than I have, so they were happy to acquire a few new girls and I was happy that Grace and Frankie would get a few friends, a larger world and even more fresh produce (Greensgrow handles a neighborhood CSA, so any scratch-and-dent veggies will go to the chickens).

I'm a little sorry to see them go, but honestly, while I like the products of chicken-keeping (eggs and amazing manure for my garden), I can take or leave the birds themselves.  I don't find them cute or cuddly, and right now, when there are limits on my time and energy, I'm glad to not have to deal with early morning feedings, thawing of frozen water containers, and packing them up to move.

There are a few people in Lansdowne who are interested in getting the town council to legalize chickens. At some point I'll find them, and even if I decide not to get new chickens, I have a potential target audience to offload my coop, and I'll still be happy to help them work toward legalization.