Tuesday, 9 December 2014

failure, Jacob's Tears

Hello friends!  Have you ever had a moment when you had to admit defeat?  Last week I experienced such a moment. After spending months lusting over a spectacular Jacob's Tears quilt, I decided to make my own.

I played with fabric and figured out my color scheme.


When I had a quiet moment, I cleared off the kitchen table (that was a feat in itself!) and started my calculations.


Despite my careful calculations, and allowances for diagonal seams, my pattern wouldn't draft properly, and I was left with this.


So for the first time ever, I'm going to work from someone else's pattern.  I have given up trying to draft my own pattern.

I've asked Santa for a special quilting book this year.  I won't tell you the title yet.  Let's cross our fingers and hope that I was nice enough to get this book.  My intent is to read the pattern (and read the pattern all the way through, not just ooh and awww over the pictures), and diligently follow the pattern (which is going to be very tough for me).  

happy thrifting everyone ;)

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Birthday OOTD What I wore out to dinner

I had exactly 6.57 minutes to get dressed and out the door for my birthday dinner.  My gorgeous guy, and some friends and I were going to an upscale, trendy restaurant to dine on delicious food.

The weather was cold (as usual), and incredibly windy!! Holy cow, I think I saw Toto and a couple of cows flying through the air.  

Here is what I threw on to brave the elements.

Danier leather hoody jacket (end of season sale, $200), Jacob white sweater (ancient, $15), thrifted merino wool maxi skirt ($3), Coach orange tote (clearance, $100), Aldo sparkly flats (thrifted, $3).

The picture of these shoes doesn't do them justice.  They are cheetah print with sparkly bits..I always get compliments when I wear them.

This was the perfect outfit for dining and staying warm.  Happy Birthday to me.

happy thrifting to you ;)

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Blingy Birthday jewelery finds!!

hello all!  I hope everyone has been keeping warm.  It's been unbelievable cold AND damp where I live.  The weather went from let's throw on a denim shirt and jacket over a nice flowy skirt to "Get out the thermal underwear...it's COLD!!"

It is seriously cold.  I've been frantically digging through boxes searching for hats, mitts and scarves. It just seems wayyy to early for this to be happening.  Oh well.

I've been wasting biding my time watching Sherlock on Netflix.  I imagine the cold, damp fall weather here in Northwestern Ontario must be similar to the winter weather in London (actually I checked - the temps here fluctuate between -5 and 9 degrees Celcius, the winter temps in London fluctuate between 2 to 5 degrees - correct me if I'm wrong).

Nonetheless, I've been curled up in bed watching Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman work their magic.  I love Shelock's uniform of dark pants, white shirt, scarf and a sweeping tweed coat.  I plan to wear a similar look (but without the deerstalker hat ;)

My birthday was a few weeks ago, and I treated myself to some birthday thrifting.  Here are my jewelery finds.

Thermoset jackpot!!!

Pink moonglow


Yup, I managed to find some vintage thermoset pieces - they're unmarked but I imagine they are Coro.  The pink moonglow necklace was $4.99, the blue flower necklace was $6.99.  The 2 pairs of earrings were 99 cents each.

Gold and pearls!!

The gold necklace was $3.99, the large pearl necklace was $4.99, the outrageously large clip earrings were $2.99.   I clipped one of the earrings to the pearl necklace, and I plan to wear it layered with another gold choker.  Love gold and pearls worn together!!  The bigger the better.

happy thrifting ;)

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Vintage Fire King temptation and thrifting karma

Random picture of a gorgeous, knee length, sheer, beaded top.  Sorry for the faded picture.

Beaded goodness!!

This beauty was a mere $8 at the Salv Army.  I was tempted to buy it, but it was wayyy to large.  I hope it finds a good home.  It was absolutely lovely.


Aha!  Another blingy ring!!

Kitty ring!!  This was part of an ebay haul.

Sometimes thrifting can yield too much of a good thing.  I have a modest, but well-loved collection of vintage Fire King cups and saucers.  I'm always on the lookout to find more.

On a recent visit to the Salv Ann, I found some amazingly mint-condition Fire King for pennies!!  The 3 Lustreware cups were a mere 49 cents each.  The 20 piece set of milk glass Fire King was a paltry $14.99.   It look liked these items were priced by someone who didn't know what they were doing, as vintage Fire King usually fetches a more money.  This put me in a conundrum, do I knowingly buy something that was drastically underpriced at a thrift store???


I carefully examined these pieces...I was particularly impressed by the milk glass pieces.  They looked like they had never been used!!  Nary a faded spot, or a scratch, or any other signs of wear!!!

After much thought I rolled my cart to manager and insisted that they reprice these pieces.  The manager agreed that they had been under-priced... and rolled them to the back to get re-priced.  Hah!  There was my good deed for the day.

I left the Salv Ann empty handed, and wandered over to Value Village, where I found some treasure!

Velvet jewelery case $4

Vintage display case, $10

Metal suitcase, $20

Both cases tucked away in my cart.

These cases will make a welcome addition to my house.  I am always on the lookout for functional pieces that will help me store my stuff.

A previous trip to Value Village yielded this vanity case (I love me some vanity cases!!!).

Jetliner...made in Canada!!
This grey lovely was $5 at Value Village.  I'd love to find a few more.

I plan to put these items to good use in my house - they'll be use to store clothing and other bits and pieces.  Pics will follow when I get a chance to take some.

happy thrifting :)

Sunday, 28 September 2014

thrifted OOTD and pinchy shoes

Have you ever had a day, when you woke up the sun was shining, the air was ripe with possibility, and it was warm enough to wear a swishy, maxi skirt to work?  Last Friday I was finally able to wear a vintage April Cornell skirt.  Made of lovely, flowy rayon (I love rayon) - this skirt is a cross between pumpkin and salmon :)

I paid $2.50 for it at the Salv Anne a month or two ago.  I paired it with a t-shirt and a denim shirt.

denim shirt (thrifted) $3
Jacob floral t-shirt (thrifted or sale) $10
April Cornell maxi skirt (thrifted) $2.50

What isn't shown are the pinchy, Rockport wedge sandals which I bought on sale for $15.  They are currently in a bag waiting to go to the Salv Army.

But here is a random photo of the jewelery I wore on Thursday.
Silver and gold bracelets, Aldo (about $3)
Brown/red ceramic bead bracelet, thrifted ($1)
stack of rings, Aldo (about $5 for the set)

Aldo was having a BOGO sale on their clearance jewelery.  A set of 5 bracelets or rings cost $5 with the BOGO discount.  

And here is the obligatory pic of a blogger's dog.  Her name is Sugar, sometimes she is a good dog :)

happy thrifting ;)

Friday, 26 September 2014

Purchasing fabric from thrift stores

It's Friday, hurrah!  The weekend is fairly brimming with scintillating things to do - the air is ripe with promise!!  I plan to sew, snooze, tidy, admire my tidying and possibly read on my deck in the sunshine!!!  I should mention that the kind weather-people have predicted a sunshiny, warm weekend. Hmm, I also have to bring my steam-cleaner to work as I had a condiment mishap on one of the upholstered chairs (hey, that could happen to anyone, right?).

In the meantime, here are some pics of fabric that I purchased from the Salv Army.

3 yards of cotton, $5

5 yards of home decor and heavyweight fabric, $7

Scads of fabric!!

Upside-down closeup of selvage

Upside-down closeup of home decor canvas..look maw, there is a monkey!!


Bags of thread for $2!!

happy thrifting ;)

Monday, 22 September 2014

Sweet 16 Heart Quilt (DIY sewing project using thrifted clothing)

Hello friends, a while ago I finished another quilt.  This quilt was a birthday gift for my sixteen year old daughter.  I wanted to create something special to commemorate this important birthday.  

First I decided on the color scheme - I chose blue to match her eyes.  Then I decided on a heart block.  I scoured the Internet looking for heart blocks that I liked.  That is how I discovered this wonderful blog Sew Me Something Good.  I liked the 6 x 6 heart design, and I drafted my own pattern.

My original idea was to go with a very scrappy heart block - one that combined prints, and light and dark values.  This was the resulting block.  

(I'll apologize in advance for the sideways and upsidedown shots - Blogger is not my friend).

After creating a couple of blocks, and not liking the result, I went back to the drawing board.  I decided to group my fabrics into light and dark values.  I would have eight light-colored hearts and eight dark-colored hearts.

Here are my lights.

The rolled up bundles are reclaimed fabric from thrifted clothing.

Here are my darks.

I also scaled back on certain prints.  This floral print wasn't the best scale for the blocks.  The 2 1/2" squares made the petals look like fingers.  

I also decided to use a lot of solids mixed in with the prints.

Pressing open the 2 1/2" squares.

Here is my first dark blue heart block.  Each block has 46 pieces.

Trimming down the block (this is one of my favorite parts of piecing).

Block with white sashing sewn onto the sides.  All the white fabric used in this quilt was reclaimed from thrifted clothing. You shoulda seen me at the Salv Army on sale day - I pulled every white pieces of clothing I could find. The sales clerk thought if I was a bee-keeper :)

Laying out the finished blocks on my floor.  Note to self: get a larger floor :)

Quilt top, now I just need to add a border.

I purchased 3 different types of fabric for the border, but none of them seemed to work.  So I used leftover sunflower fabric.

I layered the quilt, the back was a flannel sheet that I purchased new, then batting, then the quilt top.  I used green, painter's tape to secure everything to the floor.  I like to use flannel or flannelette for quilt backs, here is a handy formula.

Flannel quilt back + premium batting = snuggly quilt

I hate getting on my hands and knees to pin everything together, but it has to be done.

Photobomb from eleven-year-old instigator  :)

I added a pieced strip to the flannel backing.  Creating the pieced strip is another favorite thing of mine.  I get to joyfully and (almost) randomly piece bits of fabric together.  

Here is a closeup.

The binding is an orangey-leaf pattern.  I though it contrasted nicely with the blue.

A lot of people ask me how long it takes to make a quilt. Because I draft my own patterns, and I'm not afraid to tear things apart if they don't work, I can spend a long time designing a quilt.  Plus there is the time I spend preparing the fabric.  The quilt top was more than 90% reclaimed material. Using reclaimed material can be a lot of work as you have to cut shirts up and the resulting pieces may not be conducive to strip piecing.  A lot of the 2 1/2" squares were laboriously cut from small bits of clothing.

I'd say that the labour for this quilt broke down into the following:

* design (including sketching, creating sample blocks), 10 hours
*  preparing fabric (washing, pressing, cutting etc.) 20 hours
* sewing (including piecing, sewing blocks together) 35 hours
* finishing (basting, quilting, binding) 15 hours

Well, if my quilt has inspired you to use reclaimed fabric, then good on you.  Let me know if you have questions.

happy thrifting :)

Blingy wrist bling and other sparkly accessories

Hello friends!!  I thought I'd do a post on my wristy bling and rings.  I've been enjoying our (sporadic) warm weather, which means I get to have bare arms.  I like to wear 2-3 bracelets and stacks of rings.  To keep things affordable I shop clearance sales and thrift stores.

One of my co-workers remarked that the red and green reminded him of Christmas.  I just liked the feeling of stacked bracelets and the shiny gold.  

The green bracelet is a choker wound twice around my wrist (Nygard $5). The yellow and red bracelet has a pretty engraved red bead (thrifted $2). The gold charm bracelet was thrifted for a few dollars.

Large ring (American Eagle close-out, $3) and stack of bracelets.

The top and bottom  bracelet were part of a 3 piece set - I think I paid $3 for the set.  The middle bracelet has aurora borealis crystals and rhinestones.  Some people don't like AB crystals as they were manufactured after 1951 - I personally prefer the rainbowy finish over a regular, clear crystal.  I bought this for $15 from Salv Army.

The red bracelet was one of my Mother's Day jewelery finds.  I love finding this type of vintage jewelery at thrift stores.  You have to be careful though. The glue that holds the thermoset pieces gets brittle with age and I've had a few pieces pop out of the settings.  The purple ring was a Mother's Day gift from my darling boyfriend.  It's a Swaroski ring with a big purple crystal. The ring is a tad large so I used a smaller ring to anchor it.

I love the look of silver and white in the summer.  The first bracelet was thrifted a few years ago from Value Village *before* they jacked up their prices (rant about this at the end of the post).  I love this bracelet, it has semi-precious stones mounted to silver discs.  I think I paid about $4 for this bracelet.  The middle charm bracelet was about $2 retail on clearance.  The last bracelet is made from stone and silver beads - it was a gift.

The 2 pics above show a pixel ring that I got from Loft (clearance $8).  The photos don't really do it justice.  I'm wearing a gold bead bracelet in the top photo (Zellers close-out clearance, $4) and the bottom photo has a Nygard bracelet with big faceted glossy black cabs in a bronze setting (Sears clearance $5).

I noticed a disturbing trend of over-priced jewelery at thrift stores.  I'm not talking about fine jewelery, I'm talking about costume jewelery that quite often goes on sale for $3-$5 at Charlotte Russe, Forever 21, Bianca Nygard, Sears, JC Penny etc.  So if you thrift, know your prices and compare at the mall.

Of course I love finding treasures at the thrift stores.  I've been fortunate to amass a large collection of thermoset pieces, vintage crystal chokers and fabulous 1950's clip earrings for reasonable prices - it pays to check out the jewelery case.

happy thrifting :)