Thrifted stuffs

It’s been a crazy week here at the Button house, a lot of serious family goings-on, and now as things begin to calm, I’m realizing that my silly little blog got neglected in the process! Because of all the goings, I don’t have too much to share – I’ve knitted almost a whole sock and done a little more on the embroidery I’ve been showing you (only four more words to go!), but neither are at terribly photo-worthy points right now.

Vintage Dishes, thrifted

So just to say a little hello, so you don’t forget me out there, I wanted to pop in and share a few things with you. Also, a pretty awesome thing happened last night – Ms. Bari J., of the lovely fabric and the new-and-great We Love French Knots (and whose beautiful boards I also just found and followed on Pinterest, so I’m sure she thinks I’m stalking her now – hi Bari! I swear I’m not a stalker!) mentioned MY BLOG on Twitter. ME! Swoon! That’s a pretty darn big deal for me, and I thank her heartily for the attention. I hope some new people (hi!) have stopped by and liked what they saw. I promise to try and keep interesting things up here for you all to look at.

Vintage Dishes, thrifted

In the meantime, here’s a few vintage / charity shop pretties to keep your eyes entertained. The dishes were found at a semi-local shop that I like to visit any time I’m able, and aren’t they precious? I’m gathering up quite a collection of vintage plates, but I just can’t resist them! I really need soup bowls and that sort of thing, but who could pass up these gorgeous green plates? Just imagine them with a piece of fluffy white cake, or a perfect little cupcake. Yum.

Thrifted Doilies

The doilies were something I’ve been looking for for months – would you ever think old doilies would be something difficult to find?? I saw this doily lampshade and wanted to make it immediately — I really thought I’d just walk around the corner and grab a pile and ready for action. I’ve been volunteering at a local charity sorting warehouse for a while now and mostly you sort junk, but sometimes you find treasures. When a stack of doilies came out of the bag I was sorting a few weeks ago, my heart stopped. It was a really, really good stack, the charity wanted none of it, so they were all mine for a small donation. I’ve gathered all the materials I need, now I just need a little time to get to it!

Stitchery In Progress

Stitching in progress

For what was supposed to be a simple project, getting this one off the ground took some time. Isn’t it always the ‘simple’ ones that cause problems? It turns out that I was using the wrong type of thread – simple stranded cotton – and no matter what variations I tried (number of strands, etc), the couching just looked sloppy. I suspect it was the combination of dark color (meaning you saw every tiny bit of fuzz along the strand edges) and that I was using Anchor thread. Not that Anchor isn’t nice thread, but it is much more matte than DMC’s stranded cotton, which didn’t really suit couching very well. Couching looks best, so I learned, when it’s used to create a smooth line (i.e., not interrupted by stitches), allowing for continuous light reflection along that line. A matte finish kind of negates the whole thing, which seems obvious now, but I just hadn’t thought about it like that when picking out my thread. Switching to pearle cotton (DMC, from my charity shop loot) finally got me back on track. It’s solves the fuzz thing, fulfills the light reflecting thing, and creates a perfectly bold line that won’t be overpowered by the backing fabric I chose. Now, for reals, it should be a pretty quick finish!

Vintage Stuffs

Vintage Stuffs

A little handful of vintage lovelies: tablecloth found at the charity shop ’round the corner for about a pound or something, brooches and sewing pin tin from a tiny vintage market here in Milton Keynes a few weeks ago. I love how this little pile makes it look like my life is all perfectly and artfully color-coordinated, when really it was just a happy coincidence.

1915 Austrian Sunflower: freebie embroidery pattern

Album Praktischer Handarbeiten

This giant volume was passed down to me, prematurely, from my mother – though I say we just share it now – and was given to her by her own mother. It was found by grandmother at a thrift shop, must’ve been in the Pittsburgh-ish area in the 60s or 70s. My mom always says it was one of the most thoughtful things my grandmother ever did for her, to have recognized it in a store-full of junk as exactly the kind of thing she would love.

So what the heck is it?! It’s a self-bound, presumably, collection of crafting magazines from Austria-Hungary. I can’t be sure of the exact dates since they’re not bound in chronological order, but a quick survey shows dates that span between 1912 to 1918. The pages are dry and crumbly – you have to turn each one so carefully – but every one is an inspiration.

Album Praktischer Handarbeiten
Album Praktischer Handarbeiten

These magazines have projects and ideas for every kind of crafter, or at least those involved in any kind of needlework: crochet, knitting, sewing, cross-stitch, needlepoint, embroidery, projects for children, for the home, for men, for soldiers. Since I vaguely speak Dutch and took some German in high school, I can pick out simple words here and there, but for the most part, I can’t understand it at all – though it really doesn’t matter. The illustrations are so clear, most ideas being shown rather than described, I think I could quite literally spend years recreating and modernizing projects from these pages.

So you probably won’t be surprised to hear that I’m already working on another reproduction embroidery pattern to share, have a couple of cross-stitch patterns lined up (planned for wintertime because they involve, eep!, deers and mooses), and have many more pages marked to go back to later.

1915 Austrian Sunflower Embroidery Pattern (freebie)

Here’s a simple little pattern I’ve worked up for you all to enjoy, just as a little taster of what this book has to offer. I picked this one for two reasons: the original drawing (above) shows it done in specific stitches, so I was able to recreate it exactly, and I was struck by how modern a design it is, though the original is from an issue dated 1915! If you check out the bottom right corner of the photo above, you’ll see that the original intention was to repeat this flower into a full, leafy border, but I think it would look great done simply on a pillowcase, or tote bag – or anything, really!

1915 Austrian Sunflower Embroidery Pattern (freebie)

I’ve included the photo of the original in the PDF so you can follow it as a stitch guide if you so choose. Download away just below, and as with any freebie I have or will pass on, pretty please show off your results if you stitch it yourself!

Vintage sticky ribbon – #6!

Vintage ribbon - Duo Sheen #6!!

I don’t know about yours, but my local charity shop tends to sell crafty stuff in a sort of grab-bag style – for a few pounds, you can pick up (when available, of course) a ziplock bag full of … stuff. Lots of stuff. Maybe buttons, old needles, thread and floss, aida or evenweave fabric, bits of yarn – I once found a completely dull and beat-down pair of folding embroidery scissors. I always buy them, because, hey – there could be anything in there! I probably throw away or re-donate at least half of what I buy, but the stuff I’ve found is totally worth it.

This ribbon was in the bottom of one of those bags – Duo Sheen!! Doesn’t that just sound like the 50s-est thing ever? A Google search for Duo Sheen turns up nothing, but searching for the phrase “sticks to itself when moistened” (something I’d never have guessed I’d type into a search engine) shows that this self-sticking ribbon was apparently a popular thing back … well, I’m not sure when, but I’m going to stick with my 40s – 50s guess. There seem to have been tons of brands selling this same thing, all in different widths and colors (mine’s #6, clearly a nice choice). I had no idea such a thing ever existed, but just looking at it conjures up visions of beautifully wrapped chip-n-dips and the like. I have to wonder why and when this product was phased out – for someone like me, who prefers the band-of-ribbon style of wrapping over bows, this self-sticking stuff would actually be quite convenient.

And yes, I did check to see if it still sticks, and indeed it does. I’m sure this ribbon will make its way into my Christmas wrapping later this year!

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