Thursday, April 12, 2018

What Would You Make With This?

I received an unexpected gift that's really special to me . . .

Ten yards of vintage dishtowel fabric that has been stored away for years.

DH and I first met these two creative ladies over coffee at our neighborhood Dunkin' Donuts. After many mornings of conversation , we've become friends. Margaret and Jo are sisters who grew up in our little town and have lived in the same house for over sixty years. We love hearing their stories of how life in small-town coastal Maine "used to be".

Since we've become friends, I've invited "the Ladies" over to my house to work on crafts with me. They taught me to knit again (the RIGHT way this time!) and, in exchange, I taught them how to make jewelry. That has evolved into a monthly Applegate Lane "craft group" with five ladies in it.

One afternoon, as out little group discussed future projects, my friend, Mary Elizabeth, described a class she took at Fiber College of Maine last Fall on stenciling dishtowels.

She took the class with another friend of mine, Kendra, who gave me this towel.

That was when Margaret mentioned that "somewhere" (maybe "stashed in the shed" behind their little cottage) she still had dish towel fabric that had been her mother's. I didn't think much about it that day but the next time we saw Margaret at Dunkin' Donuts, she pulled out this huge roll of vintage toweling.  And said it was for me!

I measured the fabric. It's 16" wide and TEN YARDS LONG!
Hunting for the old fabric, and then gifting it to me, were such thoughtful gestures on Margaret's part that I'd like to do something special with all that yardage. 
Maybe use at least part of it to make something for her and her sister?

I guess making dishtowels out of this fabric is the obvious answer. I've also thought about making aprons, valances, place mats or table runners with it.  I'm just not sure that those are the most creative uses for so many yards of  the "real stuff".

So I'd love to hear your suggestions.  I have pretty good sewing skills but can't seem to come up with the perfect project.  Can you think of unique uses for this fabric that would lend themselves to either my own coastal/farmhouse decor or, even better, to gifts for friends?

I'd love to hear your ideas!

This post is linked to:
Flaunt It Friday #398 at Chic On a Shoestring
Farmhouse Friday #52 at The Painted Hinge
Salvaged Junk Projects #423 at Funky Junk Interiors
Craftastic Monday Party at Sew Can Do

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

My Tobacco Basket

This is the tale of a tobacco basket.  It survived quite a journey to get from Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina to my home in Maine. Thanks to some good karma and two good friends, it finally arrived.  

Here's the story . . .

I first saw "my" tobacco basket at this antique shop on our camping trip "Down South" in March.

The shop, Linda Page's Thieves Market, is right over the Ravenel Bridge from Charleston in the town of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. It's a fun place to stop if you get to the Charleston area.

I looked up, saw the big tobacco basket, and I knew I had to have it. DH did not exactly agree.  And his arguments were pretty sound:  Tiny camper; HUGE basket (40" square!), long ride to Maine. As those of you who have been married for a while know, sometimes you do have to "know when to fold 'em". So . . .
I left South Carolina basketless.

Back in Maine, I was still  pretty bummed about missing out on my basket.  "Maybe", I thought, "I'll just make my own." I found a good tutorial on a blog called Anderson & Grant. But once I figured out the cost of the materials and the time it would take to make, I got discouraged. To weave the size basket I coveted, I'd have to mold the reed around a card table top (per another site I found). How was DH not going to notice me doing that???

So I looked online. I liked these vintage tobacco baskets on Etsy. . . until I saw the shipping charges. . $300.00! No way. Looked like no tobacco basket for me.

And then the BIG IDEA hit me!

While we were "down South", our Maine friends, Bob and Peg, stopped by our campsite to visit. They had "followed" us to Florida and said they were planning to stop in Savannah and Charleston on their way home in April.

Hmmm . . . Maybe Bob & Peg could go to the "Thieves Market" for me and sneak the basket home in the back of their car.  Then I'd just have think of a way to slip it into the house, nail it to the dining room wall, and act as if it had always been there.  (DH would never notice.)  So I texted them.

Here is Peg's reply from the Thieves Market; the basket was still there!

Good friends not only go along with our crazy ideas, they dicker. Bob and Peg saved me 20% , bringing the basket down to $80.00. They texted me this picture of Bob holding the basket with the caption, "Mission Accomplished".  Yes, the basket is almost as  big as Bob!

The last photo they texted was this one. Final challenge was met:  The basket fit in their car. And, the next day, it was on the way to Maine!

I figured that if anyone could figure out a way to get that huge basket into a fully loaded Subaru it would be a physics teacher like Bob. Those skills helped him win Survivor Gabon in 2008. Bob and I taught high school together for years and remain friends.

Here are Survivor Bob and Peg, my "basket buddies", in Gabon, Africa.

Yesterday, DH and I drove to Bob and Peg's farm and picked up the tobacco basket.

It was a bit tricky to hang, but it's up now and is the focal point of my dining room.

I think this tobacco basket and I were meant to be together.  
And we are  . . .thanks to good friends.

I love it!

This post is linked to:
Amaze Me Monday #259 at Dwellings
Happiness Is Homemade Link Party #215 at The Painted Hinge
Metamorphosis Monday #480 at Between Naps On the Porch
Sundays at Home Link Party at Little Farmstead
Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll Through Life
Talk of the Town at Knick of Time
Wow Us Wednesday #382 at Savvy Southern Style

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Chair Project: Changing My Mind

Do you ever finish a project and dislike it?  Or totally change your mind about how it should look?  Happens to me quite often.  Darn . . .more work!  I redid this Goodwill chair on Tuesday.  Last night, I ripped the cushion apart and totally remade it. 

This time, I repurposed one of  Wednesday's Target finds, a large flour sack towel from Joanna Gaines' "Hearth & Hand" Collection, for the fabric.  With careful positioning, I just managed to get one seat cushion out of each 30" square towel.

Here is how the chair looked after my original re-do.

As I lived with it for a day or two, I decided that I fabric I originally chose was just too orangy-pink, and too shiny,  for my kitchen.

So here it is this morning. 

More muted. More textured.
 I like it much better.

The gold in the chairs encouraged me to add some daffodils to the kitchen.  I got out a few of  Wednesday's Target "Dollar Spot" Finds, the tray and the cake stand, and made a quick vignette.
The vintage ceramic animals were purchased by my parents on their Honeymoon in 1946.
I'm so happy to have them.

 I guess that for those of us who love working on our homes,
 sometimes it's O.K. to change our minds.

Does that ever happen to you?

This post is linked to:
Salvaged Junk Projects #422 at Funky Junk Interiors
Monday Link Party at Sew Can Do
Happiness Is Homemade #215 at The Painted Hinge

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Target Farmhouse Decor Under $30.00

I've been in the mood for some Spring decorating, so I stopped in to Target today to see what was new. I thought I'd check out the "Magnolia" collection for some inspiration while I was there.

I had barely made it ithrough the door when I had five items in my cart . . . all from the "Dollar Spot".
Who knew?  I hadn't expected to find any "decor" there but take a look . . .

The teakwood tray (10" x 14") was $5.00 and came in either natural or whitewashed. I love arranging seasonal vignettes on trays and this one is the perfect size.
Then I saw these tall (9") tin olive baskets with copper handles . . . only $3.00 each. 
I bought two!

 I was on a roll now!
To add height to my vignette, I grabbed a white cake stand, for $5.00. . . 
still in the "Dollar Spot". 
Four great finds for $16.00!

In the home section, I added this little clear vase for $3.99 . . . perfect for sprigs of spring flowers on a tray or windowsill.

I did finally make it to the "Hearth & Hand" section to see what Joanne Gaines has come up with for Spring. I loved these big flour sack towels (30 inches square with black, coral, or gold stripes) and at only 3.99, I got two. I often use fabric to add softness and texture to an arrangement on a tray or antique piece.  Or, if I'm not feeling creative, I can just use them to dry dishes!

 Total for all seven pieces = $27.97!

After all the errand-running, I had lost my energy by the time I got home so my Target finds are all sitting in the dining room waiting to be arranged. 

Since Joanne Gaines doesn't live here, I'll hope for a new burst of farmhouse inspiration and arrange them tomorrow!

This post is linked to:
The TFT Party at Katharine's Corner
Wow Us Wednesday #381 at Savvy Southern Style
Flaunt It Friday #397 at Chic On a Shoestring
The Farmhouse Friday Link Party #51 at The Painted Hinge
Amaze Me Monday at Dwellings
Nifty Thrifty Sunday at Nifty Thrifty Things

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

$4.00 Goodwill Chair Re-do

We have a little thumbback chair in our kitchen that was originally in the old farmhouse in Virginia where DH's father grew up. I've been looking for another one of similar size and style to pair with it. I found this one yesterday in a quick "walk through" of Goodwill. For $4.00, I grabbed it.

The chair was solid but the wood finish needed some work. 
The chair seat was woven with old men's ties. Remember when that was a popular DIY project?

When I have a new project in mind, I can't wait to get started. Within an hour of getting home with the groceries (and chair!), I had given the wood frame a good cleaning and used MinWax Wood-Sheen on it to restore the finish.

I cut a pattern out of brown paper so that I could sew a new seat cushion to cover all those ugly ties!

I had enough fabric and batting in my stash to make matching cushions for the "new" chair and the one we already had. Another hour and they were done.

Here is the finished chair.

I didn't even replace the men's ties; just placed the new cushion right over them.

By late afternoon, this project was done.

Just in time for a cup of tea glass of wine!

This post is linked to:
Wow Us Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style
The Farmhouse Friday Link Party #51 at The Painted Hinge
Salvaged Junk Projects #422 at Funky Junk Interiors
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