Monday, August 31, 2009

Curious Advice

I love reading about things people used to believe back in the olden days. It really is amazing some of the practices people used to follow. While getting ready for work this morning I decided to revisit A Book of Curious Advice: Most Unusual Manners, Morals and Medicine from Days of Yore. I like to flip through it every once and again. In case any of you are wondering how to have beautiful children, here is your answer:

During pregnancy the mother should often have some painting or engraving representing cheerful and beautiful figures before her eyes, or often contemplate some graceful statue. She should avoid looking at or thinking of ugly people or those marked with disfiguring diseases.
-The Physical Life of a Woman, 1872

There are plenty more fun "facts" to be found in this book!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

New addition

Here is my latest cuff. I decided to make one in plain green, and I think it has a kind of military flair. New in the shop today, along with another cuff in my favorite vintage feedsack.

Pretty things from around the house

A grouping of miniature (only a few inches tall!) antique books from my mom. They live above my fireplace and are one of my favorite things.

A vintage cat planter also on my fireplace mantel. Notice the lack of plant (I kill them).

A flower from a bouquet given to me by the beautiful Bunny. Please note: I am deathly afraid of bees and wasps. The fact that I was this close to one is a miracle.

A quick snapshot of part of an original painting I own. It's from tushtush and it always makes me happy.

Oh, wait, that's not pretty- just a stinky pup.

A request

My sunny snap pouch is being featured on today! I'd really appreciate it if you would hop on over and vote for it! This one sold but there will be more soon. :)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Another one

My latest acquisition from knitalatte. So pretty.

P.S. I promise- no more rock posts for a while! ;)

Sewing away

I'm working hard this weekend on stocking up the shop (pssst..I'm having a sale soon!). I just snapped this photo, which shows all the clutter on my ironing board right now. Ugh, I need a sewing table so badly! P.S. I got those old wooden spools at a local vintage shop and I LOVE them (click photo for a better view). I think they had more...I need to go back!

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Victorian Chaise Longue

Have any of you read this book? I've been wanting it for years and still do not have it! I want to get it from Persephone Books, which is an AMAZING company in the UK. They reprint what they call "neglected classics" by 20th century writers (mostly women). This particular title is book #6 from their catalog (though the cover pictured above is not their edition). It was written in 1953 and looks wonderfully terrifying. Here is a synopsis from their website:

This 'slim, brilliant, very scary novel' (John Sandoe Books) came out in 1953, four years after Little Boy Lost (No. 28); it is about a young married woman who lies down on a chaise-longue and wakes to find herself imprisoned in the body of her alter ego ninety years before. It impressed PD James, author of the Preface, 'as one of the most skillfully told and terrifying short novels of its decade.' And Penelope Lively described it in the PQ as 'disturbing and compulsive', commenting: 'This is timetravel fiction, but with a difference... instead of making it into a form of adventure, what Marghanita Laski has done is to propose that such an experience would be the ultimate terror... so Melanie/Milly clings to the belief that she is dreaming for as long as she possibly can; the point at which she is forced to abandon this comfort and search for other explanations is her plunge into nightmare.

Persephone Books covers all of their titles in the same plain gray paper, but they put endpapers in all the books that have a design reminiscent of the time the book was originally released:

A bookmark of the same print comes with your purchase of the book. Isn't it pretty? I NEED this book!

A very lucky lady

I just found out that I was the winner of TheOmIntention's blog giveaway, and what a giveaway it was! Among other things, I get a tin of Chocolate Covered Cherry Cream, a jar of Purifying Dead Sea Mineral Mask, and I get to pick out three tea samples of my choice (four bags of each!). I could not be more excited, as I've wanted to purchase from this shop for quite a while now. As a lover of tea, this is just great. Make sure to take a look at her shop because she has some lovely things and is a great resource for tea and organic and natural body products!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A book is like a lit torch

A few years ago I was browsing a dusty corner of a local antique shop and was lucky enough to stumble across an antique pamphlet all about the lure of books. Being the voracious reader that I am, my heart skipped a beat when I saw it and I brought it home with me that day. It was torn and stained in many spots and was falling apart, but I was able to salvage many little snippets for use in jewelry and other projects. But this part, the part pictured above, was something I kept for myself. "Sometimes I shall handle a book that is a thunderbolt, and sometimes I shall handle a book that is like a lit torch." This is one of the best sentiments about books I have ever read. Books really are that powerful. I'm hoping to get this sentiment stamped onto a bracelet by Misses Bird, similar to the one below but in oxidized silver and a bit more rough and tumbled looking. I want the cuff to look like it's had quite the life and has a story to tell.

As the author of the pamphlet wrote many, many years ago, "Ah, what a pity not to have a book."

Be still...

...and know that everything is going to be just fine. New cuff in the shop today.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Have you met Clara yet? She is a 94-year-old grandma with her own youtube channel called Depression Cooking. She has a whole collection of videos (and a whole bunch of fans!) where you can watch her make meals she ate during the Great Depression. Her videos are addicting...go watch them all! She is funny and charming, and I am definitely going to try some of the things she makes- inexpensive and good! I'm a little scared of her new video, though, for dandelion salad. Has anyone ever tried this?

P.S. The antique hankie and blue creamer in the photo are items I received in a vintage swap a couple of years ago and I still cherish them. I've been thinking about doing another swap soon- anyone interested?

P.P.S. I seem to have confused some of you into thinking my name is Clara! It's Amy, but I do love this hankie!

Monday, August 24, 2009

They have arrived.

My beautiful rocks from sivylla came today. Oh my goodness. I'm telling you, these photos don't do them justice. And, yes, I may be the only girl to do an entire post about rocks. But they are so very lovely and not of this place. We just don't have rocks like this in the US- well, not in Illinois. They are so very white and round and smooth. They were freshly chosen straight from the Ionian sea and I am so lucky to have them. A bit of Greece is now sitting here before me and I am in awe.

Sneak peek

Because everyone needs a skeleton key pencil pouch, right? ;)

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Two new pouches in the shop today. Hopefully some new cuffs will be coming tomorrow, as well. Thanks to everyone who gave me advice about how to finish the red pouch! It seemed I got the most votes for the plain white button so that's what I did. I think it turned out great!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Worth the wait

Friends, I'd like you to accompany me on a trip. Be warned, this is not any old trip. We are traveling back to 1953 to meet 15-year-old Bunny and 17-year-old Dave. Bunny and Dave were childhood neighbors who just happened to grow into teenage sweethearts. Now, Bunny isn't just any beautiful (and isn't she stunning?) California girl. I get the pleasure of seeing Bunny (also known as Char) on a daily basis at the office where we both work. I was lucky enough to have Char share her story with me, and with her permission I am now sharing the story with all of you.

Oh, but I'm getting ahead of myself! Let's get back to 1953. Sunny California. Bunny and Dave hadn't been together long, but were definitely smitten with one another. And then it happened. Bunny was to take a quick trip to Illinois to bring her sister home, as she had been visiting for a couple of months. Only it wasn't a quick trip. Somehow, as life sometimes takes unexpected turns, Bunny did not return to sunny California. She decided to stay in Illinois and live with her sister. Poor Dave, who was eagerly awaiting Bunny's return. He even got his arm tattooed with the words Bunny + Dave. The two lovebirds kept in touch but as is often the case with long distance relationships, it soon became clear it just wasn't going to work. Bunny let Dave go. Dave joined the marines. The Bunny + Dave tattoo was soon covered over with a lovebird.

Time passed. Separate lives in separate states. Marriages come and gone. Children. Life.

Fast forward 56 years.

Are you still with me? We're back in 2009. A few months ago Bunny came across some old photos from her California days, including the one above. She decided to see if she could find some of the people she used to know because it would be nice to return the photos to the people or families of those pictured. The modern day convenience of the internet led her to, which led her to Dave's brother. Of course, Dave's brother was more than happy to give Bunny Dave's phone number.

Can you IMAGINE that phone call? After 56 years?! Well, neither could Dave, and Bunny got a nice, big CLICK after Dave thought she was a solicitor. Thank goodness she's a persistent one and called right back. It just so happens Bunny was taking a trip to California on other business soon after this phone call and Bunny and Dave arranged to meet again for the first time in 56 years. Now, I wish I could tell you it all worked out and the meeting occurred. But, alas, as sometimes happens, circumstances prevented the reunion and Bunny flew back to Illinois without getting to see dear Dave.

Thank goodness the story doesn't end here. You see, Dave just knew things couldn't end this way. He jumped on a Greyhound bus and rode two days and two hours to come see Bunny. And let me tell you, friends, nothing has been the same since. Dave was a houseguest of Bunny's for an entire month. They had meals together, saw the sights together, and Dave read the paper to Bunny every morning...they found each other all over again. Unfortunately, as all vacations do come to an end, Dave had to return home to California.

Now, I have worked with Char for six years and there is a whole new sparkle in her eye since she found Dave. I'm sure he has the same sparkle, though I've never had the pleasure of meeting him (hi, Dave!). And though my story now comes to a close, Dave and Bunny's story is just beginning. Though he just left, Dave is already planning to come back. You see, Dave loves Bunny, and Bunny loves Dave. A first love is now a last love, and that is worth the wait.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The silent treatment

My, I've been kind of quiet! It's not intentional, but after some very long days of work (I work full-time at a publishing company) I am getting kind of drained! I've been sewing away when I get home every day, and right now I'm working on some new postcard sentiment cuffs. You wouldn't think it but these little beauties take me forever to make! I'm also making a cuff for myself using some lace trim and the best button ever.

Oh, and the lovely baskets above are the ones I was dying to get from tinylittlestitches. I actually got a set of four and they are just as lovely as my first purchase from this shop. The pink floral fabric beneath the baskets was a recent flea market find. It is so lovely and I'm trying to figure out what I want to do with it! I'll leave you with a close-up of my work-in-progress:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My nine-year-old photographer

Today after work, Julia had some fun taking photos of me in an authentic Edwardian dress from my (small) collection. She just might be a little Julia Margaret Cameron in the making!

With a sepia effect:

Here is a close-up of the sleeve detail. Isn't it gorgeous?!

Thank you for being such a great photographer, Julia!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Vintage jewelry chest

My new best friend over at Rosy Revolver blogged today about her amazing jewelry box collection. It got me thinking about a vintage jewelry chest I picked up on one of my many vintage shopping sprees. I call it a chest but I don't really know if that is the technical word for it! The top opens to reveal a mirror, and the doors open to reveal a place to hang necklaces. Each drawer has a different number of compartments. The chest (when lid is closed) is about 2.5 feet tall. I just love that it is actually a piece of furniture!

It's still really dusty inside and needs a good cleaning. I haven't actually used it yet, but I have a ton of jewelry to put in here once I find the perfect place for it.

Yay for mail!

I got my sewing machine shirt from moxiemadness today! It fits like a glove and I really love it. My hair kind of covers it in that first pic so here is another:

And, yes, I ALWAYS have a rubber band on my wrist for my unruly hair. I feel lost if I don't have my trusty rubber band. Anyway, I'm still waiting for a lot of goodies so this should be a good mail week!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Lucky lady

I was lucky enough to have the lovely Kate at Where Eagles Dare do a feature on me on Friday! Go take a look. She is so great and her interview questions were so much fun! She had me write on my knuckles...I felt kinda cool for one day, hahaha.

I was also so happy to find I had won the below print from the wonderful Chelsea at a lovely little blog:

I got it in the mail yesterday and I love it! Doesn't it make you just crave autumn?! Now go visit both of these lovely ladies!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Best. Button. Ever.

Today I went antiquing at a great three-level antique store in Wisconsin. I was lucky enough to come across this old mother of pearl button while searching for buttons to use on my cuffs. My heart kind of skipped a beat when I saw it. I've mentioned before how I have a thing for antique skeleton keys, especially tiny ones, and this button has a tiny skeleton key affixed to it! The little round bits above and below the key are actually screwed into the button and you can see where they pop through on the back. I LOVE this button!! I will not be able to part with it, and have decided to use it on a cuff of my own, maybe a single strand cuff. For size reference, the button is the size of a penny. I'm so glad I found it (and it was only $1.00!).

My favorite Victorian photographer

*The Gardener's Daughter, 1867

Julia Margaret Cameron was a British photographer who lived from 1815-1879. She didn't even begin her career as a photographer until her daughter gave her a camera as a gift when she was 48 years old. I have been fascinated with her work for years. She was so ahead of her time! Read all about her here. It's very interesting and worth the click!

*Rosebud Garden, 1868

The photo above is entitled Sadness and was taken by Julia in 1864. It depicts actress Ellen Terry at age 16. Isn't it unbelievable this was taken 145 years ago?! I swear I can imagine this girl posing for such a shoot just yesterday.

I'd also like to recommend the book Afterimage by Helen Humphreys, which is a work of fiction inspired by the photography of Julia Margaret Cameron. Her photo (The Echo, 1868) was used on the cover of the book as shown below:

Read more about the book here. It's been a long time since I read it but I remember enjoying it. It might be time to read it again!

On a side note, my daughter is Julia, and I'm proud she shares her name with this amazing woman. Have a great weekend, all!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Do you know what this is?

No? It is a special writing hut that the irreplaceable Roald Dahl had built in his garden. He wrote all of his children's stories right here. Now his stories for children are masterpieces in themselves, but if you have never read his short stories for adults you are missing out! I've been a fan all my life and never tire of his work. I suggest you go out this very minute and get a copy of Tales of the Unexpected. Do it!! Then make yourself a cup of tea - no, a POT of tea - and read the stories Parson's Pleasure and William and Mary. They are brilliant. I'm just going to have to get bossy and insist you do this. His writing for adults can be very dark and I LOVE that.

Now if you'd like to take a virtual tour of this amazing man's writing hut, go here. You get to use arrows to pan around the room and can even click on items to learn more about them. Enjoy!

A sneak peek and your suggestions

A week or two ago I went to the antique flea market and picked up this great vintage feedsack. Here is a peek of the pouch I decided to make out of it. I don't have the flap constructed or attached yet, but you get the idea. Now here's my question. Do I add a cluster of small vintage buttons to the lace as shown below?

Or should I do one larger button?

Or should I leave the buttons off the lace altogether and just add one to the flap?

What do you guys think? I think I'm going to go with the white button on the flap and that's it.