August 31, 2009

Brynwood Boutique Offerings...

On Sunday afternoon, I listed the first items in the Brynwood Boutique.

I spent time last week completing my Brynwood Birds Nest Button Jars just for you! The jars are limited edition from the Longaberger Basket Company. All the jars I'll be offering are pint size. They are embellished either with Swarovski "pearl" beads, or semi-precious jasper beads as eggs. I chose a bronze wire to make the nests, and sparkly bronze ribbon tied in a bow.

Because the jars are collector items in themselves, I have chosen not to put a permanent embellishment on the lid insert. You may keep the unique inserts in place that I have made for each jar, you may replace it with your own permanent embellishment...or you may remove the lid embellishment and just expose the Longaberger information as you wish. The jars I'm offering are empty, but you can use them for buttons or any other small collectibles.

Click here to go to the Boutique. I'll be adding more items in the coming weeks.
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You can always visit the Boutique by clicking on the Boutique header image in my left sidebar.

August 30, 2009

Sunday Blessings...

For God hath given His angels charge over thee,
to keep thee in all thy ways.
- Psalm 91:11

Have a blessed Sunday.
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August 29, 2009

A Sweet Little Vintage Dress...

Another sweet find...a little girl's vintage dress and slip.

It has inset lace, pulled thread stitching and a little slip underneath. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it yet, but I know I'll think of something! Perhaps displayed in a shadowbox frame? Or, I've been thinking about taking an old garment (maybe the slip) and sewing it into a quilt for one or both of our granddaughters.

I find myself wondering who the little girl was that owned and wore this dress. Did someone make it just for her? Where did she live? What were her little girl dreams? Where is she now? Such is the way with vintage and old treasures. They all have a story to tell, and most times never do.

I found two other vintage children's garments on this trip. I'm waiting for inspiration to strike so I'll know what they will all become. Until then, they'll hang in the studio keeping all their stories secret from me. I'll be content to enjoy them and I may even make up a few tales of my own.
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August 27, 2009

Your Wonderful House...

I found this book in the antique mall in Kewaskum, WI last week. I was intrigued by the cover...and then fell in love with the images and thoughts inside. The title is "Yourself And Your House Wonderful" by H.A. Guerber © 1913 in Great Britain. It was also reprinted in the United States and Canada.

This appears on the inside page: "Dedicated to all children with many hopes that this book will help to make them strong and happy".

The copy reflects life from an earlier time. It's a young person's guide to their body (referred to as their "little house") and how to conduct their life. It is filled with the wonderful naivete' that is sadly, long-gone. Wouldn't you love to be able to recapture some of this innocence lost? People living in this genteel day would faint dead away to see some of our current television commercials, how some people think, speak or dress today. I can practically hear their "Oh, my"s in my mind.

You can click on the photograph of the cover to link to more images and thoughts to be found in this book. I hope you'll go and check them out. I'd love to hear what you think about them. I'm sure that I'll be scanning some of these images as backgrounds for future projects.
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August 26, 2009

There's No Place Like Home...

I want to share a photograph with you which appeared recently in our local newspaper. I'm sorry that I don't have a name for the photo credit. It's a stunning image of the Myakka River which flows within a mile of our home.

Nature in Florida is beautiful, fearsome and awe inspiring. The river makes so much of it possible. Take just a moment to ponder what it would be like to float on this river in the early hours of a warm and steamy day. Practically takes my breath away.
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August 25, 2009

Beautiful Faces...

Faces from our Wisconsin trip. Faces we love. Faces we'll be missing. Faces we hope to see again very soon. Not all of the faces from our trip are seen here. Busy schedules. Visits without my trusty camera. Loved and missed all the same. Cherished images of those faces burned in my mind. Beautiful faces.
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August 24, 2009

They're Called "Shoreline"...

I got a very belated birthday gift last week. I mean over a year belated. It's ok. Stuff happens. People forget. Things get in the way.

On Wednesday last week, when we got together with my brother-by-choice, Anthony and his son (our nephew) Julian, he delivered a gift that Sister Goldenhair had purchased for me over a year ago. I couldn't wait to get the box back to my mum's house and tear the wrappings apart to see what they looked like.

Inside was a service for six - dinner plates, bread and butter plates, bowls and mugs of a lovely, beachy set called "Shoreline". It has a neutral creamy gray main color, and is adorned with sea shells around the rims of each of the pieces (I know, you can see in the photo, right?) They'll be just perfect in our Florida home.

After I unwrapped the paper protecting each piece, I painstakingly rewrapped each one in bubble wrap. I knew that we wouldn't have enough room in our vehicle to hand-carry them home to Florida, so I wanted to make sure they would ship safely via UPS while we drove. I then took all the wrapped pieces to the shipper on Friday and, just as we're on our way home, so are they.

Opening the box will be like Christmas and Birthday all over again. (Yup...my birthdays are major occasions, so they're capitalized!) I'll unwrap them, wash them and then put them in our cabinets awaiting our first dinner at home. I'm really looking forward to using them.
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August 22, 2009

Still Dreaming Of Door County...

Images from our friend's garden on Moonlight Bay.
They just make me feel good.
They make me want to try to duplicate something like this in our yard.
They make me want to find a cottage in Door County for the summers.
They make me miss our friends.
They make me grateful for family and friends we have that love us so well,
and They make me grateful that
Handsome and I have this fairytale life together.
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August 21, 2009

Grannies, Grannies Everywhere...

I have to admit that I haven't been a mad crocheter while we've been in Wisconsin. When we've hit the road to venture to Door County or whenever I'm a passenger for more than thirty minutes, the cotton yarn and my crochet hook have made an appearance. I've also been busy with this mystery project on odd evenings spent catching our breath at Mum's house.

So far, there are ninety squares awaiting a final round of a yet-to-be-decided solid color; ten small two-round squares and an odd flower (used to practice making flowers, of course!).

Today is our last day in Wisconsin. Early tomorrow morning we'll say our farewells and begin our journey south. I'm going to miss the boys and their families, but I must admit, I'm looking forward to sleeping in our own bed and being back in our own environs. I'm looking forward to the holidays when we'll fly my mum to Florida to get her out of the Wisconsin snow for a while, and the times our boys will bring their families south to us in their annual migrations. I'm looking forward to being back in the studio and offloading the myriad ideas clogging my thoughts.

This evening, my mum will return from her month-long trip to England, and we'll spend a few short hours catching up on our respective news. We'll take photographs and regret that we haven't more time to spend together this time. It's a comfort that we'll be together again soon at our home....and we always have the computer and telephone in the meantime.

Tomorrow morning, the crochet hook and yarn will again make their appearance and I'll start making more grannies. I'm looking forward to finishing them and showing you what they become.
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August 20, 2009

Another Great Find...

Here's another of my great little finds while in Wisconsin. It's a small black lacquer jewelry box. I was drawn to the wonderful image of trees on the top of the lid. The lid flips up to reveal a mirror on the inside, and it has three little drawers. It stands about eight inches tall. Oh, yeah...it's in perfect condition! What do you think I paid for it? (hint: under $10!!)

I have to admit, I've had fun scouring the shops around my old stomping grounds. I've been to most of them many times before, but am now looking at things through new eyes. I no longer bypass the little tins filled with postcards, and I stop to look at all the china, glass and pottery pieces I used to just ignore. I'm enjoying the creative process that now starts with a new find and how I can transform it into something I'll either love in my home, or share with my clients. I've always loved "shopping", but this is a whole new way of approaching the activity!

I haven't decided yet what I'm going to do with my new little jewelry box, Perhaps I'll fill it with bead bottles filled with sparkly beads or some of my vintage jewelry pins and keep it in the studio. On the other hand, it would look nice in our living room or our master bedroom, with sea shells spilling out of the drawers. I'd love to hear what you think I should do with it!

Speaking of master bedroom...I'm going to finish the remodeling of our room when we return home. My main focus is to hang drapes and then make a final decision on which block pattern to use for our anniversary quilt. The next two weeks will be spent making our quilt so that I can show you photographs of our finished retreat.
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August 19, 2009

Peace and Joy...

I want to share another of my vintage cards with you today. This one is a lovely lady surrounded by blue blossoms, which I like to think are chicory blooms. The verse reads, "May peace and joy, their sunshine lend, To thee, my dearest earthly friend."

Feel free to take my image and have fun using it in your next project. As always, click on the image to enlarge it before saving it to your computer.

We're still in Wisconsin and having a great time with family and friends. I'll have more photos for you soon, but I thought you might enjoy a shorter post for today.
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You may notice that there is a new button on my left sidebar. I'm in the process of setting up Brynwood Needleworks Boutique - a place for you to purchase some of my special handcrafted items. The Birds Nest Button Jars will make their appearance there shortly after I return to my studio, with more treasures to follow.

August 18, 2009

A Cottage On The Lake...

We drove to Door County on Sunday just to spend two days with dear friends in Baileys Harbor. Kes made immediate and fast friends with their yellow lab, Josie, and the girls played the whole time we were there. Needless to say, Kessie, being about nine years older than Josie, is catching up on her beauty sleep now that we're back to "home base" from our jaunt.

Sunday was perfect. My friend, Pat and I managed to sneak away for a couple of hours to go to a few antique shops. They're especially beautiful in Door County, as the proprieters like to travel to Europe in search of special finds. I managed to locate and even purchase a few!

After dinner, all of us went to a great outdoor concert to see a group called Harmonious Wail. The group performs what they call gypsy jazz, "sublimely sung". All I know is that they were great fun and very musical. I'm so glad we were able to go. Check out their website later. You can listen to their music there and get a feel for our evening's entertainment.

Monday, Handsome and George left the house at about five in the morning to take the boat out for a few hours of fishing. After we girls got up at a more respectable hour, we drank coffee and caught up on our family news - having been a while since we'd seen each other.

When the guys got back, we all went to breakfast to the White Gull Inn in Fish Creek on the other side of the peninsula. We also went to a few quaint shops, including one in a big, beautiful refurbished barn! I was so proud of myself that I looked and looked, but didn't buy a single thing. Handsome was equally proud, as I was giving my credit card a rest from the previous day's shopping. We also went to Fine Line Design Gallery to see our daughter-in-law, Jessica's exhibit of watercolors. They were all so beautiful!

We went back to George and Pat's on Moonlight Bay, where they tried to convince us of our need to buy a cottage close by so that our families could spend more time together. Time seemed to fly and before we knew it, we had to reluctantly say our goodbyes.

All the way home we talked about great times with dear friends, and finding a perfect waterside property in Door County. For the foreseeable future we'll be dreaming of summers on the peninsula - our families joining us for long weekends, picnics and boat rides - in one of our favorite places...Door County...in a little cottage on the lake. sigh (Cue the Beach Boys..."Wouldn't It Be Nice?")
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August 17, 2009

My Next Little Pincushion...

I love traveling to Kewaskum, WI to their local antique mall. Located in a huge, old, brick building right in their little downtown, it's two stories of just about anything imaginable, and over the years, I've found quite a few treasures there.

While scouring through their vendor booths last week, I came across this sweet little treasure. Two little birds with golden accents and a pretty little pink flower with leaves around it. The outside of the container reminds me of a little picket fence. It's small enough to fit in the palm of my hand, and it's in perfect condition. All this sweetness for a mere two dollars and fifty cents!!!

When we are settled back home in Florida next week, I'll be pulling out my prettiest wool and lace to embellish the perfect little insert of these little birds. It's going to be my next pincushion. I can't wait to show you what it looks like all finished!
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August 16, 2009

My Mother's Garden...

My mum is in England visiting relatives until next Friday. While she's away and we're in Wisconsin, she graciously offered her home to us. I wake up every morning and go out to water her garden for her. It's like having her right here...almost.

I get to see the results of all her hard work this spring. The prettiest roses and lilies, the spent blossoms of her irises, fountains of phlox and a climbing clematis (and those are only a few). She also cares for her little feathered friends. She has three bird feeders in her yard and more than a few bird houses. My favorite is the bright orange gourd with sunflowers painted on it.

She has the sweetest tomatoes that are just now ripening enough to eat. A sweet kiss in the morning from my mother's garden. Second only to the mornings as a child when I awoke hearing her sweet voice.
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Giveaway Update:
Sharon chose Giveaway Set #1 (The Grace Fragrance Set). Claudia chose Giveaway Set #3 (The Birds Nest Button Jar and owl pincushion). Marydon will receive Giveaway Set #2 (The Lazy Daisy Tea Towel and Ribbon Embroidery Pincushion Set). Congratulations, Gals! Your gift sets will be mailing out on Tuesday.

August 15, 2009

And The Winners Are...

Before I announce the winners of my 100th Post Giveaway, I'd like to say just a few things.

I am so grateful to all of you who daily visit my blog and to those who leave comments for me. I can assure you that I read each and every note you leave. They mean so much to me, and they are how I gauge your interest in what I chose to write. I had great fun watching my "followers" numbers increase over the past week, and I hope you'll continue to stop by, read and visit with me as you're able, and recommend me to your friends.

Handsome helped me with the drawing last night. I was as anxious as all the rest of you to see who would win. Here are the results...

Sharon will have first pick from the three giveaway sets
#2 - Claudia
from Mockingbird Hill Cottage
Claudia will be able to choose second from the giveaway sets
#3 - Marydon
from Feedsack Fantasy/Blushing Rose Boutique
Marydon will receive the remaining giveaway set

Sharon, please contact me with your choice of the three sets. Claudia, if you could contact me with your first and second choice. You will receive your first choice if Sharon hasn't already chosen it. Otherwise, you'll receive your second choice. All three winners are asked to email me with your full name and address so I'll know where to ship your gifts. Click on the "click here to email me" envelope in my left sidebar. Do not leave this information in a comment to protect your private information please.

Congratulations to each of you - and thank you again to all of you. You mean the world to me!
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If you loved the items offered in my giveaway, you can find the scissors fobs in my Etsy store now, and I will be offering the Longaberger Basket Birds Nest Button Jars for purchase very soon. I'll write a post to let you know when they're available.

The artwork behind the bowl I used for the drawing is a watercolor done by my daughter-in-law, Jessica. This piece was a lovely gift to me this week. If you like her art, you can contact her through her Keller Fine Art blog (I've made her blog title a link for you). She has a link there to galleries that carry her pieces. Thank you again, Jess. I really, really love this piece...and you, too!

Giveaway Update:
Sharon chose Giveaway Set #1 (The Grace Fragrance Set). Claudia chose Giveaway Set #3 (The Birds Nest Button Jar and owl pincushion). Marydon will receive Giveaway Set #2 (The Lazy Daisy Tea Towel and Ribbon Embroidery Pincushion Set). Congratulations, Gals! Your gift sets will be mailing out on Tuesday.

August 14, 2009

Fairy Princesses In The Garden...

I promised to share pictures of the birthday dresses I made for our granddaughters...

Two fairy princesses in the garden wearing their birthday crowns and dresses (all lovingly made by this grandma). I think they're the most beautiful little princesses, but then, I'm biased, I know.
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I'll be drawing the names for the 100th Post Giveaway this evening and posting the winners names tomorrow morning. Aren't you excited? I sure am!

August 13, 2009

Inspiring Blog Award...

What a nice surprise to see a message from Dee Dee at Dee Dee's Craft Spot to tell me that she had chosen Brynwood Needleworks - and me - to receive an Inspiring Blog Award!

I really endeavor to uplift and inspire each of you - my friends, family and new readers - every time you visit me. There are so many wonderful bloggers online and you have so many choices for expending your time and attention that I feel so blessed when you choose to share some of it with me.

You can, then, understand why the recognition I receive from other bloggers is so special to me. Those with whom I share this desire to write about our lives and creativity, daily inspire me to give my best. When they acknowledge my efforts, I'm doubly humbled.

In keeping with the spirit of the award...I'd like to choose six of my favorite and most inspiring blogs.
  • Keller Fine Art - This is my daughter-in-law's blog. She eloquently writes about her art, her children, her husband (our younger son), and her life in Wisconsin. Her watercolors are simply put - amazing. And her creativity doesn't end there. Please visit her blog and let her know I sent you!
  • White Linen-Lavender Field - It's my pleasure to recommend my friend, Linda's beautiful blog. A fellow Wisconsinite (now living in Arizona) - and former customer of my shop, Stitches, Linda will lead you through her blog with beautiful images, thoughtful prose and creative projects. I know you'll enjoy visiting her corner of Blogland.
  • Cupid's Charm - A fellow Florida resident, Joy creates the most wonderful jewelry pieces and has one of the loveliest place to visit. I recently ordered one of her pieces and am anxious to see and wear it.
  • Mamie Jane's - Jane has made Mamie Jane's a really fun place to visit! I love looking at the images of her latest creations and her repurposed treasures. I especially love her salt and pepper shakers re-created into the sweetest snowmen! Please tell her I said "hi" when you stop in to visit.
  • Feedsack Fantasy/Blushing Rose Boutique - I've mentioned Marydon's blog before. I really enjoy reading about her latest finds, her vintage offerings and her family. A fun read any day of the week in my book.
  • My Paisley Apron - Katie shares her life, her love and her family with her readers. She is a young wife and mother who spends her free time creating wonderful things. Stop in to see what she's working on now!
There you have it, my friends. My six favorite, inspiring blogs. I hope you'll enjoy visiting them as much as I do. I can't wait to read what you think of my choices after you visit them!

For the blogs I've mentioned, please feel free to take either of the two buttons below (one vibrant and one more pastel) for your blog, and in turn, pass on the love to your favorites. Thanks again, Dee Dee for thinking of me. I really and truly appreciate it.

More fun photos tomorrow! Only two more days to write your comments to enter my 100th Post drawings. I'll draw names on Friday and post the winners names on Saturday! Good luck everyone!
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August 12, 2009

I Love Barns...

We're in Wisconsin!!! Thanks to my Wisconsin blogger friend, Christine E., (and a few others) who apparently put in a good word with the man upstairs, the weather was absolutely perfect to greet two weary Florida travelers. The first time we got out of the car in Wisconsin, even Kes was jumping around like a little puppersnapper! I had a great time with my camera after I put my crochet hook away. Let me explain.

I'm sure I haven't shared this tidbit with you before, but simply put, I love barns! I have this almost primal reaction when I see them, and upon entering them, they inspire an emotion in me that I can't really put into words. When I try to explain it to someone, I almost choke up. That's how strongly I feel about them. Their shape, their color, the light coming in through the boards, the memories of animals long gone...everything. Yup, even the smell - empty or not.

Everything about barns has captured my soul since I was a child. In fact, my brothers and sisters all felt that at some point in my life I would find one, renovate it and then move in. I never even noticed that, on childhood family trips, I would always point out farm buildings and barns. I now know all these years later, that I was transfixed by these buildings. Maybe in a previous life, if one believes in those things...

So, on this trip, as we rolled through Wisconsin (at 60-70 miles an hour), Handsome drove and I snapped photographs. I took pictures of barns, farms and wind generators. I was - as we say around our house - in hog heaven.

I've made today's mosaic a link to all the photographs I took that I deemed worthy to keep. You can understand that oncoming semis blocking a particularly lovely building and blurry photos would not make the cut. I'd love to know if you feel the same way I do about barns. Perhaps you can explain it better than I can.
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I'm having so much fun reading all your comments in my 100th Giveaway and subsequent posts! Thank you all for showing me so much affection. You're all my inspiration and I'm looking forward to Friday when I can share the love. If you're new, you can leave comments in each post since the 100th Post Giveaway and subsequent posts for entries into my Friday drawings. If you become a "follower", you'll get TWO extra entries. If you have a blog and link to me, you'll get a Bonus entry! Thanks again!

August 11, 2009

Life Is A Highway...

Well, our life isn't really a highway, but it feels that way the past couple of days. Handsome and I are thoroughly enjoying our road trip together. Our days are spent chatting and laughing as we traverse the miles to our boys and their families.

As we checked into the hotel in Champaign/Urbana, Illinois last night I was reminded of two things...
1. I love sleeping in my own bed in my own room, and
2. I promised you a short post today

I won't be sleeping in my bed anytime soon, but I love thoughts of home. I own this vintage postcard from the New Home Sewing Machine Company. It's one of my favorite cards and thought you might like it, too.

Click on the postcard for a larger image to save to your computer. Please enjoy it, and if you use it, feel free to email photos of your finished project to me. I'd love to see what you come up with and share it with the rest of our talented group.
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Don't forget the drawing for my 100th Post Giveaway is Friday, and when you leave a comment on my posts, you receive an entry in the drawing. Feel free to take my Giveaway Button for your blog to link to my Giveaway and you'll receive 2 extra entries!

August 10, 2009

Fuel Stops, Rest Stops and Busy Hands...

They say "Idle hands are the devil's playground." Well, I can tell you there was no idleness around here Sunday! Handsome and I set our sights on parts North when we left home around 6 o'clock in the morning.

We packed our vehicle, and I made sure that my Blackberry and my knitting bag (in this case, renamed my crochet bag) were situated near me in the front seat. As soon as we were on our way, out came my hook and yarn and I started making granny squares. The Blackberry is handy so that I can read your comments when you leave them here. Thank you for making me smile every time I read them!

When we stopped at the first rest stop in Georgia, I had to take a couple of photos to share with you. The sign post was nearly unreadable, I understand, but don't you think it's weathered look gave it a fabulous patina? I think the flowering bushes were crepe myrtle. They had the sweetest smell and the color was vibrant. Just a simple way to rejuvenate ones senses while stretching the legs.

Handsome snagged my camera and got an "action" shot of me "hooking away", and I continued to add completed squares as we covered the miles. I did manage to sneak in a little nap, so I did take a bit of a break. Even so, when we got to our hotel room I counted my squares. Can you believe I've done thirty of them already? I was surprised. I still need to choose the color for the last round, but I'm going to do all these first and then do that last round on them later.

We had clear sailing most of the way, and fairly breezed into Georgia a mere 6 hours after leaving home. Other than a traffic jam (for apparently no good reason) just south of Atlanta, our day was uneventful.

The traffic jam really took a lot out of us, so we decided not to push for Chattanooga. We stopped just north of Atlanta in Kennesaw where we checked into a La Quinta. This hotel chain is perfect for us because they not only tolerate dogs - they welcome them. We were in a newly renovated room and Kes was happy to be there.

We brought our overnighters in, fed Kes, and then my boyfriend and I held hands as we walked to a local BBQ restaurant called Smokey Bones. It was the perfect end of the day for two weary travelers.

As we walked back to the hotel, I found scads of acorns along the sidewalk. I only picked up a few to show you (Handsome questioned my sanity, so I had to explain this "blog thing" again)...but my prize was the beautiful blue jay feather I found. I'm taking the jay feather home and will do something with it in my next art project.

We find that these road trips take a little longer these days. We used to do the drive to Wisconsin in two days - even when we each drove the trip alone. Now, even when we spell each other, it usually takes three days. No need to hurry, we say. "Enjoy the journey" is now our travel motto.

I'll update you later with my granny square count. I'm not sure what I'm going to make with them yet. Perhaps a lovely cotton cardigan. Perhaps a cozy afghan. Let me know if you have any other ideas for me. Handsome said he thought I'd made a "boatload" of coasters, but not in those exact words! He's such a funny guy.
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Comments equals entries...100th Post drawing Friday, August 14, 2009!!! I promise tomorrow's post won't be so long!

August 9, 2009

Pretty, Vintage Hankies All In A Row...

I had been reading a post over at Marydon's blog, Feedsack Fantasy and Blushing Rose Boutique, when she told her readers about a product called Vintage Textile Soak. Well, I'm a sucker for a great endorsement, and Marydon sold me on the stuff, so I went right to the source and ordered some. (You can link to Marydon's blog here to read her recommendation for Vintage Textile Soak.)

It arrived and of course, I had to try it right away! (Even the packaging was beautiful!) I used the Soak to launder my vintage hankies (and a few other things) - Marydon was right, girlfriends! You should see how it works on your fine unmentionables! (Are you seeing that I'm excited about this stuff from the exclamation points?)

So now that they're all cleaned and pressed, I'd like to share my vintage hankies with you. These hankies belonged to my Handsome's mom, grandmother and aunt. These women all did the needlework that appears on them. I'm proud to have been related to a long line of needleworkers. I used a few to embellish Shaker sewing boxes for my daughters-in-law. I carry these hankies to weddings and special occasions, because (of course) you'd never use them for anything but wiping away a happy tear or drying a child's eyes.

You can see that these beauties were embellished in shadow stitching, crewelwork, whitework and the teeniest, tiniest, most perfect stitches. I know I'll add to this collection some day, but these will always be my favorites.
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Remember, comments = entries in my 100th Post Giveaway! Click here for details.

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