Category Archives: Thrifting

Sewing Room News

The season has definitely shifted to full blown fall around here.  We had a great rainy weekend and the colors are gorgeous.  The shot above was taken a few days ago up at the pond on the edge of our property.

I have a few fun things to share with you.  You may have noticed that Craftsy has been evolving and changing over the past year or so.  They started to carry their own brand of fabric (Boundless) as well as yarn (Cloudborn).  Now they are offering a subscription plan to the videos offered for sale on their site.  This is an interesting proposal for those crafters that regularly purchase and view Craftsy videos.

The subscription is similar to that offered on Creative Bug but the Craftsy site offers many, many more classes in all sorts of subjects than Creative Bug does.  Of course, you get what you pay for, right?  The Craftsy subscription comes at a higher price.  For $14.99 per month, or $120.00 per year, the subscriber has full access to all of the classes in the Craftsy library.  There is no contract tying the subscriber to the plan for a certain number of months to enjoy full access.  (Of course if you pay for a year up front, you are subscribing for the twelve months.)

The interactive qualities, class notes, and discussions, are all available with the subscription. But you do not own the class, meaning when you decide to cancel the subscription you will no longer have access to the classes.  I think there is merit to their plan. Right now, Craftsy is offering a two week free trial of their subscription service.  Certainly worth taking advantage of, especially if you were considering purchasing a class in particular.  You now have the chance to watch the class and decide if it covers what you need before purchasing it.  There are lots of options how to utilize this new service.

As for sewing and fabric news, I am working on finishing up the binding on my nephew’s jersey quilt.  I decided to machine stitch it to both the front and back.  I am somewhat sure my nephew will not look at the binding and wonder why his Aunt Bernie didn’t hand stitch the back of the binding.  😉  Also, the quilt is made of jersey knits that have been stabilized.  It is pretty heavy and I don’t want the binding to come apart when the quilt is laundered.  I found one spot where the quilting stitches look a bit funky on the back side and I will take those stitches out and repair it on my machine.  I think I have thread that is close enough so it won’t be noticeable. Hopefully I will finish that up and then have a fun finish to share with you.

Last week I got lucky on my thrift store prowl.  I was having lunch with my mother in law who lives about an hour or so from me.  I saw a local thrift store that looked interesting and stopped in.  They had three rolls of knit fabric, each one 60″ wide.  I really love the color of one roll, a dusty purple and I grabbed it.  It was taped tightly so I couldn’t unroll it and check to see if it was in good shape. But I decided to take the chance on it.  If it didn’t turn out to be clean and in good shape, my $12.00 was going to a good cause (Hospice). But guess what?? It turned out to be really nice fabric and there is probably at least five yards on the roll. It will be fun to sew something up with this. I am not sure exactly what yet.  Nightgown? T-Shirt? There is plenty on the roll so maybe both?? As always, I look at a piece of fabric and it is so fun to think of the potential in it.

Hoping your week is going well and you are fitting in a bit of sewing time here and there!

Linking to Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts and a few others. Take a peek at the tab at the top of the page, Link Ups, for more linky parties.

(This post contains affiliate links meaning if you were to click through and make a purchase, I would receive a small compensation for that purchase.)

 

Thrifted Stash Update


It has been a long time since I have written a Sunday Stash post.  Maybe because I have been buying fabric constantly over the past months for my shop and it would be really boring if I wrote about each addition.  Technically, that isn’t my stash, but it is fabric and I do acquire it on a regular basis.

But today I want to share a couple of finds I had at the thrift store over the last several weeks. Every once in a while, I get lucky and find nice quality duvet covers in the thrift shop.  I remember finding one a couple of years ago and using one half of it to back a scrappy quilt I had just made.

Duvet covers tend to be a quality cotton with more heft than quilting cottons.  Thicker than sheets, they can be really durable. The first one I found is a pretty green color, maybe sage green or a dusty green?  It has a gingham pattern on both sides, one check larger than the other. After separating the fop from the bottom and removing the hemmed or finished edges, both of these pieces netted out at 77″ x 84″.  I should be able to back two lap size quilts with these and I paid a whopping $5.00 for the entire thing.  There are no worn spots or stains – they look wonderful.

This is the next one I found.  It is heavier than the green gingham – maybe similar to ticking or duck cloth? I took it home and laundered it. Then after removing buttons along one open edge, I split the top from bottom and removed the finished edges.  It is a bit smaller, finishing at 60″ x 76″.  As with the green pieces, it is free of spots or worn areas. I am thinking of a few different projects I may use these for.  I am not sure if I will back a quilt with it because it is a little bit narrow. The neutral taupe color will be easily worked into a number of projects,  I am thinking I will use this for some Christmas projects I have yet to begin. You’ll have to wait until later to hear about these. 😉  For whatever reason, this duvet cover was a little bit more expensive but I happily paid $9.50 for it.  It is still a lot of great fabric for the price! (Side note:  I no issue paying a little more for items like this because the main thrift shops I frequent are in support of our local Hospice organization and I am very happy to support such an important group of caregivers.)

Anyway – that is the latest with regard to my stash. If you venture into a thrift store, take a quick peek at the linens area – I am thrilled when I find something like this because backing a quilt can be an expensive part of the project!

Fall Mini Quilt Finish

Remember this little orphan block that I scored at a thrift store a couple of weeks ago?

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I spent a fun afternoon quilting it up. I used a rust colored thread for the main leaf portion and quilted it with a tiny stipple. These little stitches look so darn cute.

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For the white background, I pebbled away for about one-half hour and filled it up. Sometimes it is so satisfying to work on a quick project. When I first started to pebble the white portion, I quickly remembered that I don’t really like to FMQ pebble patterns and thought  I would regret it. But with such a tiny project it didn’t really matter. I was done before I could even get annoyed with the tedium.

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For the border I quilted little leaves and berries but it is nearly impossible to see because the thread matches too well. It was good practice but really, I have to look very closely to see it. Kind of funny.

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The dusty green binding wraps it all up into a sweet little mini. Perfect for fall.

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Now that we are approaching fall, I need to start getting my Etsy shop stocked for the holidays. The Chemex cozies that I make are definitely my best seller around Christmas which means I need to get busy. Yesterday I cut fabric for five covers.

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Selecting the fabrics is fun but also a bit of a challenge. Looking back at what has sold well over the past two years, the favorites are definitely gray, blue, black, and red tones. Also, the two fabrics with the coffee theme text prints (in cream or black) are usually good sellers. These are the last two I could cut from that fabric so I need to purchase more of it.

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I love to make a few with novelty fabric. I have done some with bicycles for coffee drinking cyclists and another one with Marvel comics on it which made someone very happy. Last Christmas I had a custom order for a cozy made with Star Wars fabric. I am debating making a few fun ones like this but choosing a theme is hard, kind of a guess as to what will sell –  if you have any suggestions, please feel free. I truly love your input. For now, these will get me off to a good start.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! Remember, I am hosting Handmade Halloween on October 4th!! Link up any blog posts, new or old, that are related to Halloween – costumes, decorations, quilts, even fun recipes. Let’s make it a fun round up of all things Halloween! I will tell you that I have had some really nice prizes offered in support of this party. Go write a post and come back and link it up. This will throw your name in the draw – maybe for a win!  See you then.

Linking up today with the best of the best. See the top of the page, under Link Ups.

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This is a good weekend to shop Craftsy! They have some great discounts on kits and supplies for their End of Summer Clearance. Take a look. This sale runs through Sunday night, 9/18/16.

(I am a Craftsy affiliate.)

Bits and Pieces

My sewing room is basically made up of bits and pieces that eventually come together to form something pretty – I don’t mean this to sound all philosophical. I am not like that. I mean to say it is a mess and I spent some time organizing and realized there are all sorts of fun bits in there that I want to play with. I have picked up a few things thrifting, made a few fun things and finished some others.

As far as thrifting goes, here are the most recent finds. This little stack of bits was a cute one. I love the roosters and the piece of white is totally clean and quite large; and really,- who doesn’t want extra white fabric on the shelf? The yellow bit is about 7″ by 42″ and my yellow scraps are next to nothing. These are washed and put away for now.

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This block was in a bin and looked so forlorn. It was a dollar and I wondered who pieced this with such nice points and didn’t want to keep it. I usually imagine that these things come from a lovely woman’s quilty UFO pile and get donated when she can no longer sew. Take a look at the beautiful curve she did with the stem, it is lovely. I will make a little table topper with it because it is 14″ square and deserves to be finished.

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When I was cleaning up, I somehow ended up with this pull from my stash. I kept seeing pieces that needed to be together. I don’t have a project in mind for it but if I put them back in their color area, they wouldn’t become used together and they should, don’t you think? Pieces are anywhere from fat quarter to 1/2 yard in size. I just love this autumnal bundle. When I put the photo on Instagram last night I was asking what other colors might need to be added. My IG/blogging friend, Gloria, suggested deep brown and I agree. I have a nice dark brown in the solids stack and will pull it to see if it belongs with the others. Am I crazy to just pull it and let it sit there until I figure out what to make with it? Do others do this? I have projects lined up right now and don’t “need” another but still??

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Here is another little bit. This is a six-inch square made up of leftover pieces when I was making the border to surround my THREAD mini quilt. I didn’t want to throw them away. It will adorn my design wall for now, waiting to become something else. It is so cute.

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Speaking of the THREAD mini, I put sleeves on both minis and got them hung up. My thread collection is a mess. I have some on the wall, as you can see. The pegs on these two spool hangers are too short for my Aurifil and Connecting Threads collections. So I have bins of those two and another of gorgeous, shiny spools of Sulky. What is the solution here??

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This picture shows the slightly ridiculous state of affairs in the closet that holds my fabric. It was either show you the truth or close the door which is a mirror and show you me taking a picture, standing on a chair, in my nightgown. The decision came quite easily.

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Lest you worry that I didn’t make any progress on my scrappy projects during August, let me assure you I did. But barely….hardly any….almost none. I made four scrappy HST blocks. Except, once again, I veered from the RSC16 color of the month and used yellow scraps instead of a second round of purple. I think I can no longer call this a RSC16 project. They are so cheerful – I was too pressed for time to lay them out with all the others though.

IMG_7305I will have to lay them out this month  though and take stock to see what colors I need to finish it up. There are three months left and while it sounds like forever, we all know it will pass far too quickly! I also need to double up on the Pretty Gemstones project and do two colorways for that.

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Finally – oh, you are going to be so proud of me for this one. I took a ton of bits and pieces – namely the receipts that support my Etsy shop – and got them organized into a spreadsheet for the 2016 tax year process. Oh my gosh, you don’t know how happy this makes me. To have eight months all organized – Paypal and Etsy reports downloaded, numbers entered in Excel. Amazing!! My usual process is to complete our personal taxes, and then become angry with myself because there are twelve months of nonsense to compile to figure out the numbers for my little business. Last year I was kicking myself over and over for having it in such a messy state. But, look! It is September and 3/4 of it is done. OK, I will stop bragging now.

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There you have it. A whole lot of minutiae – somehow having written this up makes me feel like I took care of lots of loose ends. Simple pleasures, right?

Linking up to my favorites – please check out the tab at the top of the page, Link Ups, for all sorts of fun linky parties.

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Also, if you haven’t popped over to check out the $5 Blowout Sale at C&T this weekend, please do. Lots of great sewing and crafting books to be had for only $5 each.

Stash Update

I have had some really good luck in the thrifting department lately. Of course, this was just after making the vintage patchwork quilt!  When I saw these on the shelf at our local shop I decided to add them to my collection.

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I love the colors – especially the one on the far left and the green on the far right.

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Even if I don’t use them right away, they belong with all the others I have collected. For those of you that might want a piece or two of these, I have cut some fat quarters and added them to my  shop. Sold as single fat quarters or a bundle, they are a bargain.

I also spotted a bundle of blue fabrics that I couldn’t pass up ($5.00 for the bundle… What quilter would pass that up?). These cuts are 1/2 yard to one yard each totally over five yards of fabric.


Moving on to fabrics a bit more modern, I received my order from Green Fairy Quilts. Honestly, they ship faster than any shop I know. It always amazes me how quickly I receive an order from them. I got two large pieces of Kona,  one in Fig Tree Cream and the other in Stone. These will be for the wedding quilt for my nephew. (I really need to find a name for this project!)  Since I was shopping, and since there was a sale, and since I have never, not even once, bought any mini charms, I chose two packs.  Once of Chic Neutrals by Amy Ellis and the other is Black Tie Affair by Basic Grey. They are both really nice lines and will be fun to make a mini or table runner with.

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Finally, I was lucky enough to win a giveaway on Instagram a couple of weeks ago. Brooke (@sillymamaquilts) hosted a giveaway and I won a charm pack of Pixie Noel fabric, designed by Tasha Noel. This line is adorable and I am happy to have this little win to play with. I will have no trouble using this sweet charm pack up on a fun holiday project.

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Clearly I have lots to work on but the wedding quilt is my priority for now. These other bits will just have to wait for a while.

Thrifting Success & Another Pattern

We had one of those weekends where things didn’t go as planned. Julia had invited several girl’s for a sleepover on Saturday night to celebrate her 15th birthday. Friday afternoon she started looking a little peaked and by Friday night she was feeling lousy. Saturday morning she cancelled the sleepover and parked herself on the couch, where she has spent the vast majority of the weekend. Poor girl – feverish, headache and all congested. No fun.

So, instead of celebrating her birthday, I snuck out to get her some dvd’s and run a few errands.  I passed a thrift store that supports our local Hospice organization and saw that they had a bunch of office/desk chairs out front. I have been sitting on an older chair that is fairly uncomfortable. I ran in and bought one of their chairs – very comfy and it doesn’t have any arms so it can hug up close to the machine. Yay! While there, I had to at least take a quick peek at their little craft area. Sometime there is fabric there, sometimes not.  I happy to see a few bundles of fat quarters on the shelf which I promptly purchased, brought home, washed, dried and ironed them. I was on a roll!

Love these autumnal prints. Especially the gray/rust piece at the far right.

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Here is another bundle.

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The black batik and the Asian looking print on the far right are great – the piece in the middle is only so-so.

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These two are nice additions as well. Black is always quickly used and I love the geese on the right. Eight fat quarters for about 50 cents each. Score.

I also want to share my May is for Makers pattern for this week. It has been years since I have made a dress but the time has come. I chose the Washi pattern. You may have seen this floating around for a bit. The Washi dress was designed by Rae who blogs at Made by Rae.

washicoversquareI love the neckline and the side pockets on the dress and the fact that the back is shirred with elastic thread. It looks like it will be very comfy which is what I am all about. My list of projects is growing really fast so I’d better get busy!

I need to get to work on:

  • Washi Dress (though I don’t have the fabric for that yet)
  • Fleur Mini
  • 241 Tote for myself (I started pulling fabric for that today)
  • Finish sewing the binding on the Stepping Stones Quilt (almost done!)
  • Prewash fabric and start cutting out the Courtyard Tiles project with my Dear Stella fabric

Ok, get ready, get set, go! What is your list looking like these days?

Check out “Link Ups” at the top of the page to see my favorite places to link to.

Thrifting SCORE

I went to a few of my favorite thrift stores last weekend. While I was out I also shopped at Humble Fabrics, it’s not really a thrift store, because she sells both new and “pre-owned” fabrics. It is, however, one of my favorite places to hunt for unusual fabrics. Last weekend I found an abundance of both new and pre-owned fabrics.

My favorite score has to be this set of quilt blocks! Two rows of four were stitched together.

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There were also these three additional blocks.

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I was thrilled to find them in a tub of scraps! The tub mainly holds small pieces that are not big enough to fold and put on the shelves. I don’t usually rummage through this but one of the quilt blocks caught my eye.  I dug through it and was able to find two pieced strips containing four blocks each.  The piecing is lovely – great points and tight stitching. Before I took these pictures (which I apologize for because they were taken at night, indoors. Forgive me. 😉 ) the blocks were labeled – A-1, A-2 etc. So I could sort of tell where the quilter was headed. However I wasn’t able to place the blocks as they were intended. Having only a few of them, I just did what I could. It looks good though!

When I got home, I pressed them and played around a bit. Finally I decided to piece them for a baby quilt to be donated. I love the bright colors. In the center I used two blocks from a set of hand dyed fabric that I won last year in a giveaway for RSC14 over at So Scrappy. They were made by Vicki Welsh. Her work is fantastic.

The squares finish out at 8″ which means that the body of the quilt comes to 24 x 36″. I felt that was too small even for a baby quilt so I played around with various ideas for borders.

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The left side with the square patched border looked way too busy.  On the right was a piece of blue and black print.  I rejected that one because it was too dark and I wanted to stick with solids and batiks (like the body of the quilt.)

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After trying a number of borders, I decided on this combination of purple (Moda Marbles line) and solid green. Softer than the others I tried and remains neutral (so fine for either a boy or girl).

 

Here is the end result, made with thrifted blocks and fabric from my stash. It finishes at approximately 33 x 42″.

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We are having a rainy day (Yahoo!) so I had to tape this to the wall for photos. Not the best but good enough to give you the idea.

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While I am very excited to finish this up, I have to set it aside and finish up some Christmas secret sewing. I have the backing and binding all ready to go, so after the holidays I will finish it up and donate.  I know about Project Linus but are there other nice organizations to donate baby quilts to?  If you know of one, leave it in a comment for me.  Thanks so much and have a wonderful weekend!

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the giveaways on Sew Mama Sew.  You can enter my giveaway until Sunday night. Take a peek!

Linking to Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Crazy Mom Quilts – links for both are at the top of the page, under Link Ups

An Unlikely Find

This morning was, as it has been all week, too hot to work outside. My husband and I were cleaning up our basement (it stays nice and cool down there!) As we went along, I made a huge pile of items to donate at one of our local thrift shops. I came across a bag of odds and ends and thought it best to take a quick look before adding it to the pile. I’m so glad I did!

In the bag was a pile of fabric that I had purchased some time ago at a garage sale. It was the sort of thing where you buy an entire bag without being able to take it apart to see what is really contained in the bag. I threw caution to the wind and spent my $3.00 on the mystery bag because that’s the kind of person I am. Most of the fabric was not my type of thing (lots of shimmer and shine.) So it ended up in the basement. This morning I took a closer look before donating it and found a set of African wax print fabrics! Score.

I hand washed them as I was fairly certain the bright colors would run a bit (and they did.) They looked so pretty hanging on my line in the way too hot sun. They dried in about five minutes!

imageTwo of the four pieces are marked as being Sotiba prints, made in Dakar, Senegal. There are conflicting accounts of the status of Sotiba. When I was googling the company there was reference to it going out of business in the late 1980’s and also some reference to current production. I honestly don’t know if they are still making fabric. Anyone out there have any info on this??
imageThe pieces aren’t large – they measure about 14″ x 25″. Not quite a fat quarter in size. The colors are so bold.

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I was first introduced to African wax prints last November when a customer requested a custom order through my Etsy shop. She sent me this beautiful fabric and asked me to make a Chemex cozy with it. I posted about that project here. The fabric she sent me was Ankara, and it felt like a higher quality weave than these pieces. It was wonderful to sew with.

 

I think I will use these pieces to create some items for my shop. These pieces are not large enough to make Chemex cozies so they will probably be used for French Press cozies instead.  At any rate, I am so glad I took a minute to scan that bag one last time.

Linking to Molly Sparkles Sunday Stash.

 

 

Vintage Heaven!

Remember the post I recently wrote about the estate sale that I went to in Downieville?  I had scored some quilting supplies and was/am so excited about the purchase. Well, there’s more to tell. I know, I know…. how much can a person handle! Bear with me. This will be a longer post than usual. Lots to say, ok?

While I was at the estate sale, I struck a conversation (as I am wont to do) with the nicest woman. She is probably in her 70’s and lives in Downieville. We started talking about things that we like to find at estate sales. I told her that I usually keep an eye out for unusual fabrics. She became interested and told me her mother enjoyed sewing. She asked me if i would like to have her mother’s fabrics. I almost fell over. Keeping my composure (not really, my smile probably spread happily across my face!) I said indeed, I would. She was almost apologetic, saying that while there were nice pieces in there, it might not be what I am interested in. Oh my, the thought of having a bag of vintage fabrics to poke through was so exciting. We exchanged addresses (me – “I bought Viola’s old house” & her – “oh, I live behind the forest service housing”  Love this small town!!) I told her I would walk over later that afternoon, but an hour later she was at my door with two large plastic bags of fabric.  I thanked her over and over and happily took them home with me that night.

I have spent hours sorting through these bags of joy. The fabric is very old and very dusty. I have been washing and ironing it all week. This seamstress would take the pieces of matching fabric and roll them up, tying them with another scrap of fabric, into bundles. The pieces are gorgeous. This picture shows less than half of what she gave me. Most are cottons but there are also several garments and some satins.

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I have been trying to figure out how old these pieces truly are. There are a few clues.  One is that the width of the pieces of yardage (those where the selvedges are intact on both sides) varies from 22″ to 36″; only one piece so far measures at 44″ wide. According to an article on Fabric.net, fabrics were made in 22-24″ widths into the early 1930’s. After that, 36″ fabrics were introduced. I know that when I worked in my father’s fabric store in the mid-1970’s we sold mostly 44″ wide cottons but had a few 36″ pieces now and then. For the most part though, 44″ had become the standard. There are no markings at all on any of the selvedges. I don’t know when that became industry practice.

Another clue to the era of this collection is the bundle of patterns that I discovered in one of the bags. The copyrights on these patterns run in the 1950’s. The styles are just wonderful.

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In addition to those patterns, there was a promo for JC Penney’s in the bag. It was an apron pattern and the promotion had a Cinderella theme. “It’s magic how much you can do when you sew!”  (Which happens to be true, by the way.) On this ad, they talk about JC Penney’s being ‘almost 50 years old’ and JC Penney’s was started in 1902, so that places the ad in 1951 or so.  The promotion included ads for Percale cotton fabric priced at 39 cents per yard and also for Broadcloth cotton at 49 cents per yard. This pattern is so cute and I hope to find a way to hang part of it in the Downieville sewing room someday.

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The history of textiles is really interesting to me. It is hard to explain my love of all things vintage but these fabrics make me so very happy! I have been hunting around for someone who has some expertise in this area. (If you have a resource for me, please leave me a comment. I would be ever grateful.)

Here are a few of the pieces that I have washed so far. I picked out some of my favorites.
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I think this next piece with the teacups looks to be from the 1950’s or so. The size of this kitschy print is larger and very bold.

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This piece is a mystery to me. There are several scraps but no uncut piece to measure the width. I love the print. Anyone have any clues on this one?

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I think this is enough vintage fabric joy for now. Just know that this gift has enhanced my stash immeasurably. I don’t think I can even store it with my other fabric. It deserves its own tub!  Next week I will show you the garments that were in the bags.  More vintage treasures!

Linking to Molly Sparkles and Coastal Charms’ Show and Share.

Estate Sale Score

Last week I spent some time up at the Downieville house painting. The house is located on a quiet street with charming older homes along the street. While I was there, I found an estate sale happening up the road from our house. I couldn’t resist. It was only a few houses up the road so I walked over. There was quite a crowd of people (for Downieville anyway) waiting for it to open. I was curious about the interior of the house – I love walking through homes and this one looked promising.

With no real goal in mind, I wandered through the yard and each room of the house. The home was packed with stuff. It was actually hard to look through everything. I did score in a major way though. There was a tub (the under-the-bed storage type) of quilting tools. I grabbed it as soon as I saw it. I have been wanting to collect a second set of tools so I can equip a sewing room in the Downieville house (as soon as we are at that point!) Take a look at what was in the tub (which I might add was all of $6.00!!)

IMG_20150420_3142Scissors, two rulers, several measuring tapes and an assortment of zippers (yay – love those for making little pouches!) Also…

IMG_20150420_3143Three cutting mats, metal clips to hold the quilt while quilting it, 5 bobbing cases, and four hoops! This gives me a huge start on equipping a second sewing room. By the way, one of the mats is a little bit warped. Anyone know how I can flatten it, or if it can be flattened? If so, please leave me a comment.

I also found these sweet pictures. Adorable line drawings. The frames need to be cleaned a bit.

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They are quite small, maybe 5 x 6″? Really cute though.

Finally, I happened upon this vintage Betty Crocker Cookbook, published in 1961.

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I have only just started to read it but it is so entertaining. This page made me smile.

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This section is great.

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Hope the week is starting out on a positive note for everyone! I am working on a few projects this week so hopefully I will have a finish to share in a few days.

Linking to Coastal Charm’s Show and Share link up.  Also linking with Connie at Freemotion by the River.