September 30, 2014

Narrative Portraits

My Grandma, Marion Straus, c. 1899-1900
My previous post introduced you to a vintage collector I've just met via blogging, and some lovely old French fabrics.  Here's an intro to another friend of mine.

My friend Barbara Novak has a really interesting and unusual business.  She makes audio recordings of elders speaking about their lives and experiences so that they can review and interpret their lives, and so that families can keep and share family tales and memories.  She's just recently been starting up a second theme - stories about birthing babies.  Barb has loads of experience as an oral historian and interviewer, and is able to gently draw out lots of information and thoughtful insights.  I love the name she's given her business.

September 25, 2014

Vintage French Fabrics

A short while ago, I came across a really nice blog that I'd like to share with you.  Actually, to be more precise, this blogger came across my blog and wrote to me with a question.  I, of course, visited her blog as I was answering her, and was really excited by her posts.

The blog is called "Treasures From A French Attic".

September 20, 2014

Shipping Quilts

Over the last couple of months, I've had quilts arrive from customers in some pretty badly battered boxes.  So I decided to write some guidelines for packing for safe shipping.

Here's one battered box.  It's quite crumpled and almost bashed in.  Also, one digit was missing from my house number on the address label.

September 15, 2014

Ice Skating Costume

This friendship goes way back, 14 years and counting.  My son met Chris Davis in a gymnastics class when they were 6 or so, and his mom and I struck up a great friendship sitting on the benches outside class each week.

Chris has gotten seriously into competition level ice dance.  At this point, I consider him another son, so when they come to me for costume help, I am right there!

September 11, 2014

Embroidery Mistresspiece part 3

Here's how I replaced and re-embroidered a couple of patches on this wonderful crazy quilt.

Usually, I patch just up to the embroidery, so the original stitches are maintained.  But there were a couple of patches where the embroidery covered nearly the whole fabric, so the owner and I decided that I should replace both.

The worn patch.
This photo became my reference for reproducing the embroidery.

September 10, 2014

Embroidery Mistresspiece part 2

Here is a wonderful story from the owner of this wonderful, mistresspiece crazy quilt:

"When I was a teenager I mowed a lawn for a very nice elderly lady in St. Petersburg Florida. She had a very large Spanish home that had been built in the 1920’s and was beautifully maintained. In the summers she had me do various things around the house and always brought me inside to talk to me before I left to go home. At the age of 78 she was courted by a gentleman who had owned the first Ford dealership in Philadelphia and was very wealthy, he swept her off her feet and they were married and moved to his home in Palm Springs Florida. Before she left she told me she had something special for me and gave me the quilt.

September 9, 2014

Embroidery Mistresspiece part 1

This quilt is a full-out embodiment of the height of the crazy quilt style.  The embroidery is off the charts for precision and creativity.  

Here are some pieces where the maker toyed with and built upon the designs on the fabrics:

September 1, 2014

1920s Beads and Fringe

A good friend of mine is sharing these lovely family heirloom pieces with us.  They belonged to her mother, as flapper style as you can get!  Shapeless, drapey, and embellished like crazy.

Dress No. 1
chiffon with underdress
beaded with seed beads and pearls
pearl dangles at the shoulders
ruched flowers at the waist