From the cottage of Maud and Claude

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pillows Completed and To Come


I finished up a couple pillows for Etsy.  This sweet pillow was constructed using a vintage embroidered runner with two kittens in a basket interspersed with red flowers.  It's a perfect addition for a cottage decor!


The back of the pillow was made with a vintage yellow polka dot bed sheet.


The inside is stuffed with polyester fiberfill and then hand-sewn shut.  I have a few bags of newly-acquired vintage linens that will follow suit and a large 5 lb. box of fiberfill, so I'll be busy making other pillows to add to my Etsy shop.

Meanwhile, I finally decided to order two fat quarters of quilting material with my photography of abandoned Kansas at Spoonflower yesterday.

If all goes well and I'm pleased with the printing, look for pillows with these designs in the near future:


This photo was taken at an old building on Route 66 in southern Kansas.  The building was no longer used and the pink doors with the worn, chippy paint just beckoned to be remembered!


I took the picture above at a dying community in central Kansas.  Just about the only thing still in business was the Post Office, which is where I parked to take this picture across the street.  I noticed the town's lifeline is one of the offices slated to close on the USPS website.

- - -
In between sewing and photographing items to be listed on eBay, I am also revamping this website to fill up the headings on the left of this page.  However, first things first, my husband gave me 5 pairs of pants that are missing buttons, so I must play the role of his personal tailor before anything else gets done.  :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Vintage Mail Order Clothing Patterns

Two weekends ago, I attended a farm auction in a very rural area in northern Missouri.  I stayed most of the auction to purchase a box of vintage sewing patterns primarily because I noticed brands other than the normal Butterick, Simplicity and McCall's.

There were two large envelopes inside the box; one from Anne Adams:


and the other from Marian Martin:



This intrigued me so I did some research (have I mentioned lately how much I love the internet?) and found that "mail order patterns were the answer for rural homemakers for the most of the 20th century.  Each magazine had a section for the homemaker to order patterns, and this included Progressive Farmer and Grit.  The list is enormous and some patterns had the designer's name and some were generic with simply a number.  The most popular collectible designer are Anne Adams and Marian Martin."

Copied from this website.

Also, "the list of designers of vintage mail order patterns is very large.  Magazines such as Ladies Home Journal had sections set aside for homemakers.  These sections often included vintage mail order patterns.  Mail order patterns were also available in local newspapers."

Copied from this website.

An example of a generic dress pattern is this:



This smashing dress is a sleeveless design with instructions to crochet a cape.

Here's a Marian Martin design:


I love this dress belted.

And finally, here's a Leslie Fay mail order dress pattern:


This design is especially vogue with the buttoned flap at the neckline.

**The information underneath each pattern is a clickable link.**

So now it makes sense why I found a large collection of mail order patterns at a rural farm auction.  Today things aren't much different; instead of ordering from magazines and newspapers, people order from internet sites. There's a world of vintage patterns out there!  Isn't that grand?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Listening to the Oldies

It was a beautiful Saturday morning in Kansas.

(Don't forget, you can click on the photos for a larger version)

And that meant an enjoyable drive out to the country for another farm auction.


I stayed long enough to nab another box of vintage sewing patterns!  Other than that, while the auction was a good one, we were close enough to the big city to where there were quite a few dealers and the prices were going a bit high, so I decided to leave and visit two little hole-in-the-wall antique shops on the way home.

Finding a box of vintage sewing patterns for the second weekend in a row makes my heart sing.

Want to know what else makes my heart sing?

Free streaming internet music by:



While I often grumble about the world today, I must say that the internet is a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful thing!

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Weekly Shop Update

I think I'm going to try a new weekly entry on this blog that will give a rundown of the last week's activity; sort of a behind-the-scenes look.  We'll see how it goes.  :smile:

It's been a rather busy week here at the Cottage.  Saturday I was perusing the upcoming auctions and noticed a farm auction near the Missouri/Iowa border for the following day and decided to make the trek north for nearly 200 miles.  It was rainy, but that's OK.  Rain can signify good deals and I'm happy to find good deals!


The last portion of the drive was rural and this was the first time my Chevy HHR went "off-roading."  My former Honda Element and I have had many, many good years traveling country roads like this, but since purchasing the HHR, I've tried to keep her on blacktop because she's a bit more of a car-car and less of a sturdy-box-that-goes-anywhere, like my Element.

However, I must say, I was pleased with both the HHR's ability to navigate through mud and loose gravel and the OnStar directional help,  so maybe she will be more Element-like after all!  The auction was pretty pleasing, as well, and I found quite a few items I will be listing on eBay and Etsy.


If all goes as planned, the HHR and I will make another trek to a Kansas farm auction tomorrow.  Luckily, the weather looks to be sunny and 73 degrees.  Yay!

-Don't forget, this week is Feedsack Week here at the Cottage.  Many feedsacks are listed on both venues and some are closing tomorrow on eBay!  A few of them are from my personal collection, so take a look!

-Speaking of feedsacks, I've been busy sewing up a new line of pillows that will be featured on my Etsy site.  Here's a sneak peek at some pillows that are in line for the final stitching:


The large pillow on the left was made from a vintage dairy feed sack from East St. Louis, Missouri.  The rooster pillow was constructed from a child's apron and the cat pillow used to be a table runner in its' former life.  All pillows were backed with vintage bed sheet material.

And finally, our Etsy page has a new look!  I thought the little girl looked like me when I was young and used to roller skate in the basement and on the back patio:


Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Week of Feedsack Love

It's all about the feedsacks this week on Etsy.




Ebay  is seeing some feedsack action, as well.





Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Belle of the Orange Snow Ball

She's all decked out for the Orange Snow Ball in her floral hat and lace tie.



And she's ready to be whisked to a new home.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Jeans Coveralls Make Great Vintage Fabric for Sewing Projects

Trips to the fabric shops are full of eye candy.  Bolts of varying colors, textures and designs give me ideas and spurn my love of creating something from scratch.  However, unless there is a sale, I usually just browse because good fabric per yard can be pricey.  This is one of the reasons why I'm always on the hunt for vintage fabric.  And remember, fabric can come in many different ways.

Visiting a thrift store is a good start.  Prices are reasonable and the larger thrifts often carry a sewing section where you can find vintage fabric.  Browse the linen aisle because vintage bed sheets, comforters and blankets can be a source of fabric.  Clothing can also offer you exciting patterns and material not seen in today's market.

I'm a particular sucker for old, worn jean coveralls.  The varying degrees of wear are evident and I think that makes a story.



An old pair of coveralls yields quite a bit of fabric for projects such as my snowman pillows.   I started working on them last night.  I really never have an idea in mind until I start.  First I assemble the wool roving and use my Janome Needle Felting machine to create the snowman:



I then go through my collection of vintage fabric scraps.  In the past, I have purchased bulk pieces of fabric from eBay, but now I keep my eyes peeled for scraps at the thrift and antique stores.


Sometimes I find pre-cut fabric pieces that someone has assembled in hopes of making a quilt, but never getting around to it.  That's where I found the two fabric pieces I used in this pillow.


I cut a smaller piece of the fabric below for the ground and then I matched the color combination back to this 1940's floral fabric and cut out a flower hat for my snowman, or woman as it really is.  :)


Using a decorative stitch to sew the fabric on the pillow is always an added touch.


I placed two grommets on the neck of the snowman and used antique lace trim for a tie and then sewed the pillow together.


All that's left is to sew up the side seam! I like to keep some of the original seams showing in my work, so when I list this pillow, I'll take pictures to show the seaming that's at the bottom of the pillow.  The more stains and wear, the better I like the fabric when it comes to jean coveralls.

So if you enjoy sewing, remember to expand your horizons when looking for material in your next project.  To be even thriftier, open your closets and use what you already own!  It's mighty fun to repurpose fabric into sweet works of art.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Reuse by Redoing

When we purchased Moonlight Cocktail Cottage at the Lake of the Ozarks in June 2005, I had plans of decorating sparsely because our main objective when visiting was the lake.  As with most things, my finely-laid plans fell by the wayside and the cottage became an extension of my love for vintage and because it was built in the early 1930's, it was meant to be, you know?

But originally, when we first started to decorate, we ran to Wal-Mart *gasp* and purchased lamps and even a futon sofa **double gasp**.  Since then, however, we have slowly replaced the Wal-Mart mass-produced crap-ola items and brought in sweet vintage replacements.  However, the lamp on the mantle continued to elude me.  The lamp was OK with a metal swirly base and a basic lampshade.  It provided the light we needed at that end of the cottage and it was the perfect size.  

A few weeks ago, I found myself standing in front of a booth in an antique mall in Lincoln, MO staring at an adorable vintage glass lamp from the 40's about the same size of the current mantle lamp.  It would work perfectly and was a good price at only $8, but it had a cloth cord.  Normally this isn't a problem as my husband is handy-dandy, but something just ate at my core because the lamp I had was perfectly fine.  Maybe I could find a way to disguise it, which is just what I did.

Here's the lamp at Christmas:



And here is the changed lamp:


I took an antique stoneware bowl and filled it with plastic gourds and a vintage rag ball.  I then clipped an old hankie to the shade with vintage clothespins.  I can change the hankie and the contents of the bowl according to the seasons.  Christmas time could include antique glass Christmas tree ornaments, Spring time might include sprays of pastel-colored flowers and Summer might be nice with a vintage flag draped inside.  

So while buying vintage is a great alternative to new items, reconfiguring what you currently own is even better!  


Of course if you don't have an antique stoneware bowl, eBay is a great place to start the hunt!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

George's Skelly Uniform

His name was George and he worked as an attendant at the Skelly Gas Station on the corner in Small Town, USA.  That was back in the day when a full-service experience was still in vogue; you know, when someone pumped your gas with a smile, washed the windows and checked the oil.  I barely recall that era, however I often got gas at a station in Sycamore, Illinois from one of the last dying breeds back around 1990, but that's about it.


Somehow I miss those days, even though I didn't truly experience them.  It was a time of cordial greetings, a smile and the assurance that someone was looking out for your welfare and it is a far cry from today's trip to the gas station.


The uniforms of yesteryear are now stored in the back of closets, sitting at the bottom of boxes and completely forgotten.  George's Skelly uniform, however, is still around even though he isn't.




The holes and ground-in dirt recall a hard-working man.





Sewn-in patches covering holes.





Saturday, September 10, 2011

Weekend Sale at Etsy

We are running a weekend sale at Etsy.  If you click over to our Etsy shop, you'll notice the 4 featured items are on sale this weekend only!


This adorable vintage lovebird spoon rest was $9 and is now $5.



In wonderful condition, this antique Victorian shirtwaist blouse is now $17.50.



Retro fabric from the 1960's-70's now half off!



Original McCall's Vintage Apron Pattern also on sale.



Enjoy your weekend and I hope it includes a bit of Etsy shopping!