vintage cute

I have a box of embroidery transfer patterns collected over the years.  The transfer patterns are heat transferred to cotton fabric with a hot iron, then embroidered.  Used for baby quilts, table and bed linens, anywhere you would want to embellish with embroidery.  And really, what doesn't look better with a little embroidery embellishment?

A collection that spans over 70 years, my grandmother's, my great aunt's and mine.

Here are two relatively new ones.

Here are some older ones.

Most of them are Aunt Martha's transfers, still readily available.  I don't think she has discontinued one design, EVER!  JoAnn's Fabrics always has a great selection.

Here are some early 1930's Aunt Martha packets originally selling for .10 each.  They still stamp!

Some early McCalls dating from the 1940's and earlier.  Those dancing teacups crack me up.  25 cents each!

The price has gone up to 30 cents!

Vogart is no longer available, but found this great site.  Apparently they are pretty collectable.  Love these pin-up gals.
I have a few posts in mind that will showcase some of the quilts made with these.  So cute!  Hope that post will be in the next few weeks.  Also, numerous tea towels have been made, but those are mostly long gone to the rag bag or worse and made before I even thought of documenting my crafting with a photograph.  Anyway, I knew you would enjoy seeing these, they are really precious, don't you agree?

Happy crafting!

winter flowers

I am one day new to Pinterest, a bit late to the party I know.  I don't really know how best to use this resource yet but so far liking it very much.  I have made up some fun boards, one is flower arranging.  I don't know yet how to make the quality of the pictures better for blogging, but in the meantime enjoy these beautiful winter floral arrangements.  (Does anyone know how to grab pins for your blog and have them not be blurry?)

Shaelyn Shawl and 4th Sunday

Shaelyn Shawl by Sheila Raabe
I have some pictures to share of a shawl I finished and gave to mother for Christmas, finally got some pictures today.  This is my second Shaelyn, and mother loved mine so much she requested one in black.

For this I used one strand of Cascade 220 and one strand of Luna, a thin strand of mohair/silk/gold metallic similar to Kidsilk Night.
The combination made a nicely warm and fluffy shawl with a bit of sparkle that the photos don't show.  This is a super easy lace repeat and an A-plus pattern.
I really don't have white hair and ugly floors, I had to mess with the controls to get the lace to show.
Today was 4th Sunday which is my Sunday of the month to do food for fellowship after the last Sunday service.  It's at lunch time and we try to have little sandwiches, deviled eggs, cookies, just little finger foods served up with lots of coffee.  I find so many recipes on the web that I want to try, but since we don't eat many baked goods at home I usually end of trying these recipes for my 4th Sunday.

Today, besides little sandwiches, fruit and veggies, cheese and crackers, you know, the regular stuff, I made 3 new-to-me recipes.  They were all big hits and found them right here on the web.

First off was Crock Pot Meatballs, maybe that's not new, but since I've never done it I assume some others have not either.  This starts with a jar of jam, any flavor, but don't waste any homemade jam for this recipe, a bottle of bar-be-que sauce and 1/4 cup of prepared mustard.  Mix it in the crock pot and add a bag of pre-made pre-cooked frozen meatballs.  Stir and turn on high for 5 hours.  They were gone in minutes and I doubled the recipe.

The next treat has the unlikely name of Cracker Toffee.  Now friends, I make real toffee twice a year, Thanksgiving and Christmas and don't feel we need it the rest of the year, even though we WANT it.  This recipe has intrigued me as everyone in blogland is always saying how fab it is and oh-so-easy.  Well, it was another hit.  Gone in minutes and so easy, I will make it again, but does not take the place of real toffee no way.  I used this recipe from the Girl Who Ate Everything.  Try it, you will be amazed.  I didn't use saltines, but some butter crackers I had.

This recipe for Lemon Sugar Cookies from Two Peas and Their Pod is via A Friend to Knit With who bakes a batch of cookies a week and shares her findings with us.  California is lemon country and we love puttin' lemon in just about everything.  Another big hit at church, so this 4th Sunday for me was 3 new recipes and 3 big hits.

Lots of football and knitting on the menu today!  Next post I'll share my wip's, I have a few!


First off, I need to say that I DO love this sweater (and the guy that's wearing it!) but if ever there was a sweater project that could suck the knitting mojo from the soul, this would be it.  The pattern is a stinker and would be better if it were offered free and reworked.  I've discussed that over on my Ravelry page.  I'll just say that in the end, after over a year of knitting and ripping and repeating, the sweater is...finally...finished and beautiful.  My son loves it and fits him to a "t"! 
The yarn is machine washable wool, Cascade 220 Superwash.  Easy care for a young man to manage.

Did you hear me yowl on Christmas Eve when I was putting in the zipper?

 My first sweater zipper, finally I hand sewed it.

The pattern does not explain the short row shaping for the hood, but once you figure it out, it comes out well.

The fit is perfect.

House Tour, the hallway

A finished room to show! 

This room is the hallway that leads to our bedroom.  It sports new wall paint and new fabric for the window seat cushions and pillows.  It's part of our redecorating plan and really is the first room to be finished.
 This room has had several color reincarnations since we bought the house in 1985.  It once was sunny yellow and then raspberry pink.   I love these mellow neutral tones for a quiet change.

The hallway goes from the entry way to the master bedroom.  We bought the house from the original owners, and when they built the house (1942), this hallway was private, with doors that closed it off from the entry way.  It made this hallway more of a part of the bedroom, but we wanted this to be open as the windows face the front yard.  We removed the doors and enlarged the windows as our first project in 1985.

The original house plans call this hall a gallery.  The wall on the right had NUMEROUS nail holes from where dozens and dozens of pictures had been hanging.  I have arranged Pottery Barn black and white frames for our family pictures.

We use the storage in the window seats and cupboards for old clothes and toys.

This glass case was purchased elsewhere, but last time in Pottery Barn I saw these in 3 sizes.
At the end of the hall is a bank of drawers that gets used every day.  They hold my purses, belts, scarves and shawls.  Our bedroom is just on the other side of the door and I consider this little holding area to be my last minute spot to finish dressing and grab my purse.  It's almost a part of the bedroom.

Smaller family pictures are on the shelves above the drawers.  I love this space so much.  It leads to our bedroom, so is private, but open to the entry so can be seen when you first step into the house.

I love the way it looks at night when you walk up to the front door.

Having a hallway like this is an unusual and charming feature in a home.  I love it for being beautiful and unique and is one of the reasons why I love my house so much.  My husband will have to carry me out of here, feet first.

Linked to It's Overflowing and Cottage and Vine!

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neighborly dinner party

We had a dinner party last night, a long over-due welcome to the neighborhood dinner party.  My table looked so pretty and I like to share these pictures with you.

I used my Le Jacquard napkins and a table cloth that was made from a large remnant of upholstery fabric.  The dinner plates and soup plates are Arte Italica's discontinued Portofino pattern in a deep sage grey-green with a pewter rim, very lovely.  I have a set of 6 and hunting for more.  The goblets are from my 39 years ago wedding registry, the very fancy Lalique, pattern Langeais.  I was never more fancy than when I was 21.  I just looked them up online and almost fainted at the price now.  But I have to say, they are like holding angel's glass, ethereal and beautifully delicate.  Now I am determined to use them more often, why not!
The champagne flutes are made by Roost.
The dinner was simple, starting with Tomato Soup with Wild Rice made from my husband's summer tomatoes that I roasted, pureed and froze.  Followed by roasted Fred Steak with an artichoke salad.  For the veggie side I had planned on making a flashy pepper and asparagus stir-fry.  But yesterday I was looking for a piece of wire and had to move a stack of old books and then I sat down and looked through the old books for an hour.  A trip to my past!  My cookbooks from my childhood, also mother's from her childhood, so fun to look though.  So many memories of a 9 year old me making Happy French Toast and Sunny Day Salad for my family.  Then a familiar notebook appeared that I knew to belong to my Grandmother Pearl, full of hand written recipes from the 40's and before.  As I was leafing through I thought, why haven't I ever made any of these?  Like Cytha's Prize Lemon Pie ("my favorite" written in the corner) or Lelia Patterson's Chile Sauce whose first ingredient is "1 peck of tomatoes".  There's recipes for Marshmallow Pudding, Mrs. Zimmerman's Meatballs and Casserole Corn.  On a whim I decided to make the corn pudding and even though I doubled the recipe and had only 6 for dinner, every last kernel was gone.  It's simple and I would file it under comfort food.  The recipe calls for a jar of creamed corn, I know my family canned and bottled but I've substituted purchased canned creamed corn.

Casserole Corn
Mix 1 can creamed corn with 2 well beaten eggs.  Set aside.  Mix 2 tablespoons flour with 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.  Whisk in 1 1/2 cups whole milk and beat until smooth.  Combine with corn mixture and pour into greased casserole dish.  Set in a pan of hot water (I forgot to do this step and it was fine) and bake in slow oven (325 F) for one hour or until firm and brown on top.  Mine took longer at a higher setting as I doubled it.  It was a hit!

Thank you all for your sweet comments on my previous post.  I appreciated hearing from you.

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inspired by

This post by the lovely Twisted Knitter inspired me to write my own story.  It's hard to know what is appropriate to share on this space or why I would even want to share personal things.  Like Janet, I'm not sure if this will get posted.

I have through out my life imposed ridiculously high standards for myself and impossible goals that made me feel bad when I didn’t reach them. I also felt like I couldn’t say no to anyone. I resented my friends and family for expecting so much from me. What a mess, I was so unhappy!  And it was all my fault, my doing.

During and before the time my son became sober, about 2 years ago, we had so much time to talk as a family. I used that time to take a hard look at myself, did not like what I saw,  and set my mind to go about changing.  Other people's behavior is not in my control.  If you have ever had a child who is spiraling out of control because of alcohol, the pain is unbearable.  It was making me sick, or rather I was making me sick.  I just knew I couldn't be sick anymore.  Perhaps others, including my son, couldn’t or wouldn’t change, but I knew I could.

I read a lot on this subject and talked to people I trusted and got a lot of encouragement.  Then I tried to let some things go.  First to go was my unattainable desire for perfection! control! speed! adoration!  I got the courage to look the other way, remove myself from situations, and stay away from certain people.  I started to say NO often!  I eventually quit my unhealthy job situation.  Most importantly, I set a standard for how I thought I should be treated and accepted no less.  Believe me, these changes were not easy to make then, but easier now, you get used to making the changes and finally the changes become habits.  The changes become the new you.  Lucky for me I had a few close friends and a loving family to share things with.  And prayer was my constant quiet companion.

It’s funny, I think some people may have noticed a change in me, but rarely did anyone say anything. Perhaps if they saw a change they adapted to the new me and still loved me.  My son became sober and he was proud of the changes in me.  I was proud of him.

I am now so much better, so much happier.  I have a feeling of peace and contentment that was out of my grasp a few years ago.  I know my husband is happier that I am happier, but truthfully, he had a bit of an upset at the beginning.

I acknowledge that I am very talented in so many ways.  I love to create, do and make, and love to share all of it. But now it’s always on my terms and I never allow myself to feel guilty about how I spend my time or money or explain away who or what I love. 

Those whom I love, I show it, I behave myself around them and give them space and acceptance.  I expect it back too.  It's way easier that way, why didn't I think of it before?

My son read this and suggested I add that it takes courage to evaluate one's self, come up lacking and seek out change.  It sure does, I observed his courage with great pride and took pride in my own.  This is not so much my story but my family's story, specifically my part in my family's story.  Perhaps our story will inspire courage in others. 

At 60, I am a real work in progress.  God help me.

Bless you, and thank you for reading.

xoxo Kristen

a little reminder

A little reminder to set your DVRs for the second season of Downton Abbey airing tonight.  I've been looking forward to this since the last episode of season one.  It's surely one of the best Masterpiece Theaters ever.

If by some terrible accident you never happened to see season one, for a short time you can watch it here on your computer.

The production inspired me to search out my cameos.  All are hand carved shell.
These came from either my grandmother Pearl or my great Aunt Cytha.

My favorite aunt, Aunt Patty gave these to me when I pieced my ears at age 16.  It was quite a feat to talk my mother into ear piercing as at the time it was akin to tattooing.  My aunt always bought me the most beautiful gifts. 

Enjoy Downton Abbey!
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