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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Passion of Pottery

Bird of Paradise, Eldreth Pottery, 2004
My travels to Westerwald Pottery in Scenery Hill, Pa. are always productive. My original reason for the most recent visit was to see if I could replace a broken lid from one of the large canister jars in the red/cranberry paint. When I purchased the last pieces in that design and style the owner told me they were having problems with that paint separating during the firing process. It is the only non-organic dye that he uses and imported it from Germany. They discontinued using it because of the problems. Then I show up with the lid!  Always helpful, He trudged to one of the outbuildings where he keeps misfires, odd pieces etc. Lo and behold after scooting off two snakes and a mouse He found a lid. It had the typical flaw that this glaze produced but it was fine for my purposes. I call it "character!" He said I could have it free as well. Best bargain of the day.
back decoration of the Bird of Paradise jar

Now just so you know, the two large pieces were found by the Mr., not me. This reproduction jug, the design mostly likely used for water, is a large piece. It is also a heavy one. Toting this thing around full of water would have negated the need for the gym and Nautilus machines for the lady of the house. 14 inches in height and 8 inches wide makes it a hefty piece.
I ended up putting it on a high shelf in the kitchen, sitting on the table it had bump me written all over it! Antique hand-crank butter churn on the right. I move stuff around quite a bit.
Sunflower Pitcher, same potter, Eldreth, 2010.
Here's the thing when you collect large pieces like this, where do you put them? I want them visible because they are works of art to me but they need to be in a safe-ish place. The pitcher is on the drop leaf English antique table in the living room right now. Sometimes I get the urge to have dinner in a different place and this table folds out to comfortably seat 4 to 6 people. If I open only half Mr. and I have a different view of our world. (please note knitting in basket on the right, it seems there is a project everywhere I look!) The pitcher (another favorite collectable shape) is a little smaller 11 inches high and approximately 7 inches across. It is heavy as well but not like the jug!

Someday I will remove the china closet in the dining room and have custom cupboards and shelving installed to hold the collection. Mr. groans. Alot.
  • The history of pottery styles has always fascinated me. They were the Tupperware of their day.
  •  Supporting local craftsmen is also important to me. In our world of disposable everything the artists struggle to find their niche. We cannot let the skill of these amazing people be lost.
  • I have some new little pieces as well, functional items. I use my pottery.
The current table centerpiece. A jam jar and small pitcher in the traditional Westerwald Feather design as well as a small jug originally intended to be a liquid soap dispenser. Lose the plastic pump and insert a couple flowers. (no flowers yet) The Lazy Susan is the same IKEA one painted black. The candlesticks are older, the place mats came from Country Charm in Farmingon, Pa.

The Jam Jar

The mini-jug.

The small pitcher
  •  I probably should have been born in another century, then again, maybe I was.
  •  The straw trivets you see in the dining room and on the kitchen table were purchased in 1970 at a place called "The Damage Store" in Omaha, Nebraska. I have no idea if it is still there but we paid 50 cents each for them at the time. Use them everyday. They even hand wash with a little dish washing liquid and water. 
  • The smaller pieces are used every day. Because they are very affordable, if there is an accident my heart does not stop. 
  • The other ones....keep that defibrillator handy please!  Toodles.
Now back to this century, the link will take you to U Tube video that has a funny take on Mothers 'tweeting' their children. It's a good one.   Late Night Hashtags with Jimmy Fallon 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

String Star Block

For those of us who collect strips and love to do the occasional String Quilt I thought you might like to see this one. It was posted on Facebook a while ago and several people were looking for a pattern. I have no idea what size the blocks are but you could easily make them to your own specifications. The layout is what makes it distinctive and if you like Stars, well, there you go!

  • No Tuesday tea today, Mr. is having some testing done.
  • I do have some Pottery Passion Photo's coming up. Just when I think I will not add to the collection I come across some stunning jugs, jars and pitchers. I am weak. I may have a problem.
  • I don't care. You only live once so live it well, your way and be happy. Therefore, pottery.
  • I saw three Hummingbirds, a Yellow Butterfly and several members of our Turkey flock while sweeping my back porch this morning. People ask why I live in the woods.....that is one reason.
  • My weeds are doing well, so are the herbs.
  • I have to miss my Ladies of the Cloth gathering today as well. Hello all! See you next week!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Have a Happy Holiday

Happy Memorial Day Quotes, Poems , Sayings, Images 2015
As we remember those who died in Military service and those Veterans who carry the trauma of their experience for their entire lives, a day of respect and honor.

A Tote of Note

I tucked the corners in to check out the look and decided to box the bottom.
A few minutes later, we have a box bottom. My Rachel sewed through the four layers of canvas with no problem.
    essentially sturdy plastic handles
  •  I am a fan of tote bags. I find that putting each project in its own bag makes travel much easier. I found this one at Joann's for $14.99. A double layer of decorator weight canvas cut in perfect rectangles with vinyl handles it was just the right size to hold my snap right tote holding quilt squares. 
  • These are available in many patterns and are reversible.
  • If you are interested there are posts on Mondo Chronicles about our latest trip.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Friday Fashion-My Change of Season Commentary about the State of Dress in the USA (and Apparently Europe as Well)

B6221, Misses' Top, Dress, Shorts and Pants
B6221-information and line drawings here.
So, so sorry for the long pause. My blogger auto post went bonkers and I turned off electronic life for a while. This was to go up on Friday. A day late, story of my life lately!!! Thank you for understanding.

On to this subject before we discuss quilty things, I know, I know, here she goes again. Every season change seems to elicit a mini-rant about the state of dressing by the population. So I am giving a pre-warning, skip this post if it is not your cup of tea.

Since we do not live in an insular world, the fashion and dressing trends of the population seem to affected each continent, some more than others and by that I mean the US probably more than Europe or England. This assumption has recently supported by dear blogging friends in France and elsewhere. Enter Tish Jett with a provocative post about our state of dress. A thoughtful comment conversation ensued that got me to thinking about how I, personally, can improve my daily comportment. The Butterick pattern, 6221, is my idea of casual dress. Depending on fabric choice it could be gussied (don't you love that word?) up or down depending on the occasion of wear.

Now fashion as I translate it is somewhat separate from dressing. In my way of thinking fashion is the high street stuff, the shows, Vogue. Dressing, by contrast, is the compilation of items that cover our modesty, keep us warm or cool, and permits us to present ourselves in the best possible light and make us feel good about ourselves. That perception is different for everyone and for different occasions but as long as the look is well curated for that person, it works.

B6142, Misses' Jacket, Vest, Tunic, Dress and Pants
B6142 Is an edgy version of current trend. The asymmetric hemline on the tunic is a nice look but not many can pull it off. I am thinking about another sewing blogger who has labored over this look time and again and eventually evens out the hem. Why? Curves sometimes compete with the line and the end look is ridiculous. While attempting to be 'fashion forward' we must be careful not to slip into clown territory.  B6142 info here.
I have eschewed the Fashion oriented blogs for a while because the content was either way out of reasonable in content and price or simply repetitive. The pendulum seems to have centered again and I have resubscribed to several just to follow the trend. While I do not now or have ever dressed to impress I would like to expand my horizons a bit.

Sadly I have fallen into a bit of a rut. A uniform of sameness and comfort. I lost my desire to move beyond that little world. I would see a friend at a public event in a lovely leopard print tunic style top and think " I really like that, I could do that, it would clash with my freckles, no that won't work."

Then I get the skirt/dress urge, shop around without purchase, pick up some new patterns audition fabric, and then over-think the whole business and the time I need to stitch it all up and end up in my uniform of tailored trousers, a blazer or sweater and a little sweater underneath. I have been a Talbot style person for my entire adult life. If I buy an item of clothing it has to be good quality and fit within my personal style guidelines. Other similar retailers also catch my eye and my dollar. My dress is conservative and simple. Not too much pattern or bling. I know, boring. The Tilton sisters, Marcy and Katherine are known for their cutting edge designs. Geared to the "ladies of a certain age," their patterns have some interesting cutting and design lines that give them a more forward trend but remain comfortable and appropriate. This dress is nice with the left-sided zipper insertion but depending on the fabric could fall into the maternity shape range. Ohhh, careful there!
B6213, Misses' Jumper and Dress
Katherine Tilton B 6213 information here.

 On a recent trip to the city I remarked to Mr. that no one seems to 'dress' anymore. It was lunchtime and the sidewalks were teeming with tatty jeans, poorly fitted, and poor quality (likely one and done wearables) that were clinging to areas that should not ever be emphasized. Quality dress was entirely lacking until we were near the Courts. There lovely women in every shape, size and age were dressed in well fitting pant suits, skirts and shirts or dresses. There is hope.

There lies the rub. We have become a sloppy society where we present our self to the world as a participant in the reduced to the lowest common denominator faction, jeans and T shirts or sport pants and tanks.

Talbots Wrinkle Resistent Shirt
A current Talbot look.

Now, shoes are another story. I am now and have been (since age 8) a shoe fanatic. I no longer wear heels, but I have a nice collection of low heels and ballet flats, as well as Dansko clogs and Alegria beauties. That is a different subject all together.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Some Mondo Info While I Drink My Tuesday Tea

 Mr. Says..."it's always something!" Sort of sounds like Roseann Roseanna Danna doesn't it? Well, I sort of agree. This photo is from our last trip to Pymatuning. The dilemma lies in entry to the coach. We are making some amendments to address that first step. Depending on where you are parked the pitch of the lot can make a big difference. I discuss this a bit on the Mondo blog and what we are doing to fix it.  While this has nothing directly to do with quilting remember that I need to get into the coach to be able to work on my projects in my down time!  :) Just click on this link: Life With Mondo, Preparations.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Table Runner/Mini-Quilts

As we transition through our seasons I find that my current table linens are looking a little tired. They are reminding me of (Heaven forbid) Winter! My mind just went numb but that is not totally unexpected. You must understand that in Sewtopia once that AC is turned on that baby stays on cranking away, day and night. Mr. tends to be a warm person so our thermostat settings are not like other homes. We have Cold, Western Pennsylvania Cold, Northern Tundra cold and Freeze your blood Antarctic Cold! (you thought I was going to say something else, didn't you?)

OK, back to the original subject. Table Runners. Talk about a rewarding and quick little project! These mini-quilts are not only fun to do, you can use up lots of fabric scraps and still have plenty of time to work on the big projects. Great as gifts for Birthdays, Bridal Showers and just because, the Mini-quilt/table runner can be personalized to color scheme or decorating theme.

For example, at a recent Ladies of the Cloth gathering Marilyn brought this beauty in to work on finishing the bindings. Now remember please, may of my photo's are in-progress and there are projects all around the tables because everyone is working on something! Marilyn has used this pattern many times and each of the mini-quilts has a different pattern because she changes up the fabrics and/or uses something that echo's the Holiday theme.
This one shows the details and how nicely the fabrics play together.
There are many patterns on the internet and on U tube videos to inspire you. A while ago Amy Smart shared this little one and got my whole train of thought moving.   
here This is basic Stitch and Flip with some additional quilting to highlight the rows. The striped fabric is carried into the bindings! Too cute!

If you are new to this process or would like a little refresher Follow this link over to Craftsy for a tutorial and some inspirational ideas to get you started.

Here is a little video from a prior Alex Anderson's Simply Quilts that will teach you how to make a baby blanket using the stitch and flip and quilt as you go technique.
  • Mini-quilts, table runners, pot holders etc. can be great quick projects that require only a small amount of fabric with a nice impact.
  • The flip and stitch-quilt as you go method provides an easy way to reach that goal quickly. The bindings will likely take more time than the construction process!
  • Take a look at your left over strips, like Amy Smart did. Pop in some white fabric and you have a bright fresh Summer look. 
Have a lovely Monday. Consider your projects for the week, maybe even make a check list of little things you wish to accomplish prior to the Memorial Day Holiday weekend. A nice patriotic themed table runner for your picnic table might be just what it needs!