Lucky Lisa

August 20, 2007 at 2:15 pm | Posted in charity, Doll Quilt Swap, Memes, Quilting, Sewing/Crafts, swaps, Thrifty Goodness | 35 Comments

I’ve been a lucky, lucky Lisa for a good month now, as the mail carrier has brought a steady stream of loveliness to me from all over the country.

It really started about 4 weeks ago, with a package with an Alaska return address. Textile artist Linda concocted this fantasy “wild thing” quilt for me for the Doll Quilt Swap. It’s stuffed hand applique, with machine quilting, and it’s incredibly detailed.

DQS2 received

It’s based on a fawn stuffie she’s made, and it’s frolicking in a stand of towering sea oats. Linda’s hand-dyed fabric are exactly the colors I asked for to match my office’s red, green, and black color scheme.

DQS2 received machine quilting detail DQS2 received detail

Her piercing “people eyes” took some getting used to, but she’s settling in nicely now. Thank you again, Linda!

Next, Marisa from California sent a handmade pouch in her signature taupes. It’s a quilted pyramid pouch, pictured here on her beautiful blog. I just love that shape! She’s included a sweet appliqued tag with her knockout calligraphy. Thanking you, thanking me, Marisa! I have enjoyed our exchanges and your generosity in sharing your quilting expertise. I just last night finally figured out the taupe-y treat I’m sending to you: a pear! Inspired by your post about Kwoozy.

This week I received an envelope full of my favorite old childhood friends from Lynn, a.k.a. eggmoney. She sent them as a “thank you” for co-hosting the Doll Quilt Swap. Well, it was an honor to have her among our number. Her quilts are real knockouts! She also has an etsy shop full of lovely items. How did she pick these out? They’re perfect for me! Thank you, Lynn!


eggmoney cards 5

Georgie Porgie (waaaannnnnhhhhhh!)

eggmoney cards 2

Go, Dog, Go! This would make a great congratulations or good luck card.

eggmoney cards 1

Marvin K. Mooney (hmph!)

eggmoney cards 4

and my favorite friend, George

eggmoney cards 3

I dragged Ryan to the theater see the Curious George movie when it came out a year or two ago. We were “unchaperoned” by any kiddies: just a couple of thirty-somethings loving the familiar episodes, as well as the Jack Johnson soundtrack.

Finally, my streak of luck apparently reaches beyond my mailbox. I’ve found some super things at the thrift store lately.

quilt cubes 3

quilt cubes 1 quilt cubes 2
These are 1″ wooden blocks that you can use to make designs. I know I’m supposed to be a grown-up, but it’s been fun to play around with these. They have 4 solid colors and 2 sides with half-square triangles. They’ll undoubtedly come in handy for Kim’s Doll Quilt Challenge. One of the upcoming months will feature the Fresh Traditions quilt, which uses a lot of HSTs!

crewel teddy

Look at this little cute bear. He was a dollar. The overalls!

And I had the find of a lifetime: a Gocco printer for $2.50: rhymes with “thrifty.” I spotted the box from across the store and my heart skipped a beat. You know that feeling if you frequent thrift stores. Then you stroll nonchalantly toward your prize and snatch it off the shelf and hug it to your chest, hardly believing your luck. Or is that just me?

I’ve already tried it out on our Christmas cards. We didn’t send any out last year, we were that late. So maybe if I start in August, we’ll be able to get them out in time in 2007!

christmas card design 07

This design is a tribute to the artist Charley Harper. I’ve only recently found out about him, through Design*Sponge. He sadly passed away in June, but he leaves quite a large body of work. His paintings are everything I love about art: they’re humorous, stylized, graphic, and very very colorful.


Yes, sir – yes, sir, one box full!

April 29, 2007 at 11:34 am | Posted in swaps, Thrifty Goodness | 10 Comments

sweaters for sonya

This is an overdue box of cashmere and wool sweaters that I’m sending west to the lovely knitsonya* for a personal swap. I’ve been blest to find so many wonderful sweaters for very good prices at the thrift store, and the poor dear has lots of competition for such gems in San Francisco. She’s has such a talent for working with wool; I can’t wait to see what she does with them!

And I know it’s better to give than to receive, but what I received…! Sonya sent the most thoughtful and generous package. Each item was chosen with care and I love it all!

Too much fabric! Floral and pink fabric from Sonya Dotty fabric Owl fabric

The fabric’s working its way through the wash so that I can start using it right away.

sonyaswap vintage buttons Red vintage buttons fruit buttons

I’ve admired her vintage buttons, and now some of them are MY vintage buttons :o). Amazing aren’t they?

She also sent candy, which didn’t last long enough for the photo shoot (Mr. Lisa K. LOVES candy), and some pretty pink thread and cotton batting. I’m aaaalllllll set for crafting this spring, between this great swap and some quilt shop gift certificates and books my wonderful friends gave me for my birthday.

Thank you, Sonya! Your package will be en route tomorrow!

Next post: new crafty books!

*News flash: Sonya’s j u s t opened an etsy shop. Check there soon for some of her sure-to-be-wonderful creations.

Another thrifty score

March 27, 2007 at 10:38 am | Posted in Quilting, Thrifty Goodness | 5 Comments

I know it seems like I’ve been spending all my free time in thrift stores, but….okay. You got me. I’ve been spending all my free time in thrift stores! You can find some real treasures there. One-of-a-kind things. And at such low prices, you feel a little guilty. For example:

thrifting 03-23 baby quilt

This baby quilt belonged to the cashier at the thrift store where I purchased it. She said it was hers or her younger sister’s, she couldn’t remember which. Her mom and dad bought an RV and were selling or giving away many of their possessions, and so this (she thinks) 100-year-old, hand-pieced and quilted beauty is mine, all mine (insert evil laugh). I assured her that I was a quilter and would take good care of it, and that seemed to lessen some of her wistfulness.

baby quilt detail

The most interesting part of the quilt, for me, is that each of the teeny colored squares is appliqued on individually. For example, in the “stem” in the pic above the two-square-tall blue rectangle is actually two squares sewn separately onto the white background. Is this a crazy technique that I’ve never heard of before? Or was it a cross-stitch sampler pattern adapted into a quilt? And speaking of patterns, does anyone know what that tree/flower bouquet pattern is called, if it is a traditional pattern?

baby quilt letter detail

Each of the squares is a hair less than an inch. The entire quilt is about 40″ long, and it’s in great shape. Couple of tiny worn spots in the binding, but that’s it.

I’ll post again tomorrow: another thrift store find, and some cool Japanese books I got on eBay. I have to run: it’s our weekly crafty day today! Apron and potholders to make!

Pistachio bunny

March 15, 2007 at 10:49 pm | Posted in Sewing/Crafts, Thrifty Goodness | 8 Comments

Betz White, of Martha Stewart and cupcake pincushion fame, shared a tutorial for making cashmere bunnies on her blog this week . I was lucky enough to have bought 2 armloads of cashmere at a local thrift store (I went back the next day and found five more, after the original six; I still haven’t paid more than $2.20 for one), so this seemed like a perfect project for Kath and Lisa’s Weekly Crafty Day.

pistachio bunny

Fun fact: I held him upright with a miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, which I promptly ate after taking the last photo.

I traced Betz’s templates and cut everything out, including two ear linings from one of my favorite springtime fabrics (same stuff I used for the egg– and heart-shaped yo-yos). I was a little worried about sewing the stretchy sweater, but it wasn’t too bad. Just make sure if you try it to pin, pin, pin. Did I say pin? I experimented on the ears with sewing with the sweater on top and then on the bottom. I seemed to have better luck, strangely enough, with the cashmere on the feed dog side (on the bottom). It’s just s’darn slippery. I haven’t tried it with the walking foot. Next one, maybe.

When turned, the bunny looked super wonky, especially just in front of the feet (his ankles?). Stuffing seemed to resolve that strangeness. Now, as a notorious overstuffer, it’s hard to know when to say “when,” since the knit gives so much. I actually ended up un-stuffing his rear and re-doing it because he had a little too much junk in the trunk.

Oopsie, I plumb forgot to sew on his tail! Well, you get the idea. I’ll re-shoot him with some brothers and sisters before the weekend’s out.

Tales from the thrift

March 13, 2007 at 9:04 pm | Posted in Thrifty Goodness | 7 Comments

I visited a thrift store this afternoon, and holy cow, did I score. I picked up six cashmere sweaters, two wool sweaters, a sleeveless top, a tin, a tablecloth, and a cute vintage valance. Any guesses at my grand total at checkout?

 $12.98. Yup. I almost cussed out loud. Here’s a look at the haul:

Wool sweater 1 is by Norm Thompson. They actually still sell this one. It was originally $129.00. Mine was $1.20. I liked the rose motif and think I might turn this into a pillow.

Wool rose pattern sweater

Wool sweater 2 is by Tommy Hilfiger and has pretty colors in an allover diamond pattern. Here’s a detail of the pattern; I like the brights against the beige.

Wool turtleneck diamond pattern sweater Wool diamond pattern sweater - detail

I also scored two red cashmere turtlenecks, one from Gene Meyer ($1.80) and one from Country Shop ($0.80). One of them actually fits me, but I already have a red cashmere turtleneck. Ha. Figures.

Red turtleneck cashmere  sweater Another red turtleneck cashmere sweater

Here’s a soft grey SO brand scoopneck with ribbed details, only $1.20. The pistachio cardigan on the right was also $1.20.

Grey ribbed scoopneck cashmere sweater Sage green cashmere cardigan

Two last sweaters: A navy blue J Crew polo sweater for $1.80 and a camel crewneck for $1.20.

Navy polo cashmere sweater Camel crewneck cashmere  sweater

I plan to felt the sweaters and use some of the cashmere ones to make the cute bunnies from Betz’s tutorial. I might try to make some pillows or purses or pouches with the rest. I actually kinda wish I could make a luxe patchwork throw blanket with them, but I’m a bad estimator and don’t know how much square footage I’d get out of them, especially once they’re felted. I’ll post my progress.

I love this little tin for so many reasons. Many of the graphics on it are filled in with pretty calico patterns, like the cow in the fourth photo.

Tin, side 1 Tin, side 2
Tin, side 3 Tin, side 4

Here’s the top:

Tin top

I also picked up some textiles. I’m not sure what they’ll end up being. This yellow fabric is a valance with some cher little animals. I just this moment realized that, like the tin above, some of the “fills” are calico prints, a little like feedsacks. Only $0.90!

curtain 04 curtain 02 curtain 01 curtain 07curtain 06 curtain 05 curtain 03

I tried to put this tablecloth down a couple of times, but each time, the happy vegetables won me back over. For less than two dollars, how could I not? I think they might have been a hand-painted transfer, since the color’s a little uneven. But they’re so cute!

Vegetable tablecloth 2 Vegetable tablecloth 1

My highest-priced item was a $2.80 Dockers top with pleats in the shoulder seam and a cute band collar. It’s covered with fuzz from all those sweaters, but it fits perfectly. Can’t wait for summer!

sleeveless top

Speaking of summer, it was actually 72 degrees here today, but March is just teasing us: it’s supposed to snow later this week.

Fabric for Lisa, from Lisa

September 10, 2006 at 12:17 pm | Posted in Sewing/Crafts, Thrifty Goodness | 1 Comment

fabric from Lisa C.

Lisa Congdon over at A Bird in the Hand was cleaning house and graciously offered some of her extra fabric to her blog readers. I was lucky enough to be on the receiving end. Thanks, Lisa! I feel some more owls coming on…

Fabric pictured atop a page from The Almost Everything Book (illustrated by Joelle Jolivet), which I picked up yesterday at a local used bookstore (Frugal Muse in Downers Grove). It’s a gorgeous thing, and huge!

The Scrap Saver’s Stitchery Book

June 29, 2006 at 4:28 pm | Posted in Sewing/Crafts, Thrifty Goodness | 1 Comment

The Scrap Saver's Stitchery Book

I found the cutest 1970s craft book today! Each page I turned revealed more and more cute projects. It’s called the Scrap Saver’s Stitchery Book. I paid a dollar at the thrift store, but you can get a deal on amazon, too.

kitchen items

I’m participating in a kitchen-y dining-y swap this summer, so I thought these potholders or sunshine placemats might be possible items to make and send.


It’s not my scanner: the book was published with some pretty bad pictures, but you can still see that these aprons are sooooo cute.

eight tiny reindeer

More Christmas: Aren’t these reindeer cute in gingham?

goldfish shower curtain

I love this tesselated (is that the correct term?) goldfish shower curtain.

Her reaction, and a splendidly thrifty find

June 12, 2006 at 10:52 pm | Posted in Sewing/Crafts, Thrifty Goodness | 4 Comments

She loved it!


Look what I found at the used bookstore!

It includes some wonderfully retro patterns, colors, and fabrics.


The couple on the right are soooo stylin'!

These remind me of the felt mascots I see in Japanese magazines and books.

I'm making the elephant for a swap partner. Isn't he cute?

Dig in and start doing

May 31, 2006 at 10:05 pm | Posted in Blog, Sewing/Crafts, Thrifty Goodness | Leave a comment

Update: Just fixing a broken link

 Hi there! This spring I began nosing around some crafty blogs, and was stunned by the creativity and camaraderie I witnessed there. I had no idea all this sharing and…making was going on. Where have I been for the past few years?! I’ve rooted for you as you started projects, checked in as you progressed, and cheered when you completed them. I’ve found and used some of the patterns you’ve so generously given and have taken up whole new crafts to do so. (So much for our extra closet space.) And I’ve been touched by your willingness and ability to share some of your personal experiences, motivation, and wisdom with people whom you may never meet. I guess I’m starting this blog because I’d like a place to share some of my crafts and thoughts and connect with others around the world: like those of you who’ve inspired me and a host of others to dig in and start doing.

Speaking of doing, I started on my first apron last night. I’d spotted Rebecca’s lovely green polka dot apron and decided that will be the perfect birthday gift for Kathy. She loves vintage florals and thrifted treasures, so this retro number should be just the ticket.

The pattern is McCall’s #3979, and I’m using these fabrics, which I’ve had for a few years now:


Continue Reading Dig in and start doing…

Create a free website or blog at
Entries and comments feeds.