Archive | July 2009

Friday’s Favorites: Vintage Sewing Accessories

favorite sewing pretties

favorite sewing pretties

I love to sew and have been doing so every day of my life from the age of seven. My mother sewed all of our clothes, and I used to watch her at the kitchen table as she created these every day items on an old black singer sewing machine. I would remove the pins from each piece after she had sewn it, clip off the excess threads, and organize the pieces for the next stage of sewing. I started to make my own clothing when I was in the seventh grade.

Many of the sewing accessories from this group picture were handed down to me, and some I have acquired over the years at thrift or antique stores.

From left to right:

  • The felt dress is an etui that was purchased at a church auction by my father’s mother (my grandmother). She used it for many years, and when she passed away it was given to my mother.
  • The colorful metal piece is a thimble holder, this I found offered as a group of items on ebay, (along with a few of the other items shown here).
  • The wooden doll is a needle holder, her body lifts up and she dutifully holds your needles. A friend had given this to me when I was first married.
  • The wooden barrel behind her holds thimbles and was the part of the group I found on ebay.
  • The box of pins was found in a standing wooden sewing case that had belonged to my mother’s father, and was from my grandfather’s mother.
  • The sterling silver thimble on top had belonged to my mother’s mother. I am sure that my grandmother would not have approved that I drilled a hole in it and had worn it on a necklace! I have matured a little and hold it with respect, it now resides in an old tin along with the other treasures here.
  • The round tape measure was one of my earliest sewing accessories. I of course played with the button and pulled the tape out just to see it snap back. Luckily I didn’t ruin it and it is still functional.
  • The blue metal case is another thimble holder and the green case holds two wooden spools of thread. Both of these were from the group of items that I found on ebay.
  • The metal scissors are “oh so pretty” but they don’t cut worth a darn, I think the saying is that “they couldn’t cut hot butter”. The stork pair of scissors was a gift from my mom and dad, and the floral pair I found at a thrift store.

I just love to look at these items and imagine what project at hand each seamstress was working on; was it for something functional and necessary or was it created for the pure pleasure of sewing? I know that all of these items were treasured by the women whose legacy I have inherited. I salute every one of them and I am proud to keep that tradition alive, every day, one stitch at a time.

While you are happily stitching away, take a closer look at your sewing treasures, what memories do they hold for you? Enjoy your day! Christen

Ocean Rivers Bracelet 2: free form peyote

Spanish Moss

Spanish Moss

The bracelet above is the second sample of my Ocean Rivers Bracelet. The stitching technique is one that I developed using free-form peyote stitch on fabric.

Happy stitching, enjoy! Christen

Junky Funky Flowers

Junky Funky Flowers

Junky Funky Flowers by Kevin and Christen Brown

I have been collecting pieces of this and that on “our walks” for years, and my husband dutifully will put these treasures in the pockets of his shorts until we get home, no matter how dirty or messy they may be. What a good guy!

He even carried the wood and metal umbrella that we now use in the garden, adorned with ribbons, to ward off the birds. He did draw the line with the crumpled rumpled bumper that I found, we had to come back with the truck for that.

It will take a trip around the neighborhood to collect enough bottle caps for one flower. My husband crimped the edges of each bottle cap, then poked a hole in the center with a nail and a hammer. I attached them with artistic wire and size 6 seed beads. Each one is backed with cardboard.

bottle cap flowers

bottle cap flowers

I stuck three vines of vintage glass leaves into the pot, that had belonged to Kevin’s grandmother. A few fuzzy bees also were included to fly around the flowers because they were kinda cute.

The tall vine is made from vintage stamen painted yellow and red. These are attached to a florist wire with millinery leaves along with vintage mercury beads left over from a Christmas garland. The shorter curved vines also have gold mercury glass beads, vintage nubby flowers and millinery leaves.

paper covered pot

paper covered pot

The flower pot was an old tin can that held stewed tomato’s. I bent it at the edges to form the sides, and for the first few days I left it this way. I had originally glued the hanger, which is a top from a soda pop can (also found on a walk), to the back of the tin can.

Kevin the Holder of Precious Junk

Kevin the Holder of Precious Junk

But alas, disaster struck when the glue didn’t stick and the whole thing fell off the nail on the wall!

So…. I decided to finish the pot with an old paper wrapper leftover from a raw sugar package. This I folded, trimmed and glued to form the correct shape. The hanger is now securely glued to the back of the pot with additional bits of paper and cardboard for stability.

Whew, all is right with the world, it is now much more secure and it looks better with the brown paper!

Happy treasure hunting, enjoy what you do and the time that you have to do it! Enjoy! ~Christen

Friday’s Favorites: Pansies

Bunch of Pansies!

Bunch of Pansies!

I have always loved flowers, real life ones, painted images and fabricated ones! Pansies though are amongst my favorites. I remember a faded picture that my grandmother had of a a group of pansies, it was so pretty and reminiscent of the Victorian Era.

Pansy Hankies

Pansy Hankies

This a group of hankies decorated with pansies. The top left has lavender colored organza pansies with hand embroidered details. The blue pansy, with four petals (oops) is a sheer metallic fabric with hand embroidered details. The bottom one is of course my current favorite with a myriad of crochet pansies, WOW!

There is a crochet doily at the top right of the large picture, which is made from a heavier weight cotton, with purple and white pansies.

The purse is a wool reticule, and is actually embroidered with thistles, but it was so pretty that I included it in the photograph.

millinery pansies

millinery pansies

These millinery pansies are made from a velvet material with painted details and fabric stamens. The yellow pansies are vintage, while the purple and yellow garlands are new.

The purple piece of fabric (shown in the large picture) covered in pansies is so pretty, I can’t cut it! So I just move it from project to project, and love it the way it is.

I have also included in the large photograph pansies that I have made from French wire ribbon and a vintage grosgrain ribbon (these all have button centers). The larger flowers are corsages while the smaller ones will find there way onto a neck-piece that I am making.

The two sweet little pins were given to me by a dear friend who new that I loved these flowers! I also have pansy stickers, pansy note cards, and a few other pansies that didn’t make it into the picture. I think that they were shy!

Enjoy, tell me about your favorite flowers! Christen

Friday’s Favorites: Whistle Buttons

a collection of whistle buttons

a collection of whistle buttons

I love buttons, old, new, nice, not so nice, clean or grungy; with holes or with shanks; glass, rubber, celluloid, Bakelite, shell, composition, plastic, horn, or bone.

This is a collection of my favorite style of button, which are the whistle buttons. The construction is such that there is a large hole in the front and you can see the two or four holes through this that you use to sew them onto the garment.

This collection here pretty much runs the gamut on the type of materials that can be found with this style. Some of the fancier are of course the composition buttons that are inlaid with abalone or mother of pearl.

Here is a great blog Button Floozies. You will also find and interesting pdf to download on Piecework Magazine’s website, Great-Aunt Belle‚Äôs Buttons.

Happy day to you, have fun collecting, and enjoy what you do! Christen

Lothlorien Twilight

Lothlorien Twighlight

Lothlorien Twilight

“Lothlorien” is where Galadriel lives in J.R.R. Tolkien’s magical world. The cloaks that she and her ladies made, that were given to the “Fellowship of the Ring” were said to have been made with a cloth that reflected the leaf, branch, water and stone of this realm. I felt that the colors that I chose for this piece reflected the same thing. Hopefully the magic will be reflected here too!

embroidered center

embroidered center

The background is a vintage embroidered silk purse, probably from China. The purse itself was too delicate to be used as such, so I have tried to preserve it’s beauty, and add it to my collection of art. Each piece of embroidery is comprised of single “Peking or Chinese Knot”, incredible in itself the work that went into each piece! These were each stitched separately then attached by hand to the brown silk. The rows of gold work that attached each design had come apart so I hand stitched these back in place first before I added in my own embellishments.

Then it was time to add in some of my own work. I beaded three dragonflies that have a dentalium shell body that is beaded and wings that are beaded. I made several sets of brick stitched leaves and interspersed them through the sections of flowers. I also beaded a few vines of brick stitched leaves.

beadedcenter

embellished and beaded center

I hand stitched several butterflies from French wire ribbon, and added dentalium shell bodies which are beaded. I also made hand stitched flowers from grosgrain ribbon that I stitched with vintage celluloid button centers. I antiqued both the flowers and butterfly bodies with copper fabric paint.

Several more flowers were made from silk bias ribbon and vintage velvet ribbon. These have beaded centers and are interspersed between the butterflies and larger flowers.

I used many vintage buttons that I have collected over the years including carved Tahiti shell, “tinnies” and celluloid which were used around the outer edges. Several new dragonfly and butterfly buttons and charms were also found to complete the theme.

Full wall hanging

Full wall hanging

I had a wonderful time collecting all of these treasures, then finding a home for them to reside.

The last item I found at Maureen’s Vintage Acquisitions was the mini quilt hanger with the dragonfly on the top! Perfection!

I hope that you enjoy what you do, have fun today and do take a look at the other entries for this challenge, they are all unique and incredible!

Happy stitching, collecting and treasure what gifts you have! Enjoy! ~Christen

Friday’s Favorites: finding something you were searching for

tatted flowers

tatted flowers

My favorite thing is to find the thing that I found yesterday, that I was looking for last week, while searching for the thing that I needed for today for a project that needed to be done tomorrow.

These are tatted flowers that my mom had made for the handmade greeting cards that she gave out for every occasion. She started with tatted flowers with hand painted details, moved on to cross-stitched designs, crochet designs, embroidered designs with tatted flowers and finally silk ribbon embroidered designs.

Each family member received a “special holiday” card, and friends and family received Christmas cards every year, (which she started making in July). I know that several cousins and many of her friends have saved every card that she had made.

The picture here shows forgotten leftovers from her tatted designs, that she kept in old envelopes with the directions for each design. I wanted to include a few of the flowers on Lady Rose, a doll that I was making from a few items from other cards that she had made, but I didn’t find these in time for that project…

But I did find them! Don’t get too frustrated with yourself when you can’t find something that is hiding, detours on any journey can lead to unexpected moments! Enjoy, Christen