October 31, 2014

Now, That Was Fun...

We went to Sarasota yesterday and toured Mote Marine. Uncle Dick really 
wanted to see the manatees and other marine life on exhibit. We didn't miss a bit.
After we had seen every exhibit, I asked what his favorite thing was. He said,
"The manatees.". They seemed to like him quite a bit, too. They were like puppies.
So many colorful (and, in the case of this lionfish, dangerous) things to see.
This spiny lobster was huge!
But when I reviewed all the pictures I took yesterday, I realized that one of my
favorites was this one of a tank loaded with jellyfish. Is it just me, or do they 
look like buttons to you, too? Yes. I thought so. Big, clear, beautiful buttons.
DonnaAcornSignature

October 30, 2014

Commissioned Corgi Koozies...

This was my commission project...three Corgi Koozies.
Did you know that I was unable to find more canvas, padded blanks?
Yup. If anyone knows where I can get them, please let me know.
For this project, I purchased the neoprene, created my own template for the
base, attached the velcro, made my own coordinating binding, and stitched
out the designs. My client requested a black-headed, tri-color Pembroke...
a handsome Red and White Pembroke...
and this head of a black-headed, tri-colored Pem...all on a royal purple fabric.
I chose the binding fabric to enhance the koozie., and finished them yesterday.
I sent photographs of the final products for her approval. They were a hit!
She loved them, so they'll go in the mail to her today.
Today is the last day that Aunty Marg and Uncle Dick will be here with us.
We're going to Sarasota to Mote Marine Aquarium, and we'll do a little more
touring together before coming back home to attend Handsome's first concert of
the season. We were just saying that we can't believe how the time has flown by.
 
One more day before they head back to cooler Wisconsin weather. So
many new memories we'll hold dear until the next time we see each other.
DonnaAcornSignature

October 29, 2014

Family and The Fiber Divas...

Yesterday, Aunty Margaret, Uncle Dick and I headed over to Englewood Beach.
It was a perfect day for it, too, considering 88º, a lot of sunshine and a breeze.
As we walked from the parking lot out to the beach, I could hear my aunt
and uncle's reactions to their first view of the Gulf of Mexico. I smiled.
They've been married over fifty years, but they still hold hands. They're such an
inspiration to their children and the rest of our family. We all had a great time.
In the evening, Aunty Margaret joined the Fiber Divas at Paneras. I offered my
work-in-progress, organic cotton shawl for her to work on. Now I have some
of her handwork in it. She sat down and fit right in with our group and is now
an Honorary Fiber Diva!
She was kind enough to trade places with me to take a photo of me with the 
 group. (Note to self: When you're the tallest person in the group - by at least
a head - don't sit front and center in the picture! lol) Thanks, Aunty!

I'll finish up a commission this morning in the studio, and then we'll head
 out for a little "retail therapy". I'll share commission pictures tomorrow.
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October 28, 2014

Tuesdays With Tag - I Don't Wanna Brag...

Hi, Everybody!!
I don't wanna brag.
Just kiddin'. I wanna brag A LOT!!!
(Direct Link to recording: http://youtu.be/kswX2rcqcPY)
Grab your popcorn. Turn up the sound. Sit back and enjoy. 
I can't wait to hear what you think.

This recording session was sooo much fun!
Dad throws for me at least eight times every time we go in the water.
I'm so buff, you wouldn't believe it. (Hear that, Quinn? wink wink)

I've gotta head back to the pool. I'll see you next week.
'til then...
"Bark Like Ya Mean It!"

October 27, 2014

They've Arrived...

Photo taken May 2012 in Wisconsin. New photos to follow!
 I told you we'd have family visiting very soon. Well, yesterday my Aunty 
Margaret and Uncle Dick pulled in the drive for a week-long visit with us!
 
They'll attend Handsome's first concert of the year this week, and Aunty 
Marg is going to Panera's with me tomorrow night to meet some of my 
girlfriends. I just know they'll love her - and her lovely British accent!
I have some projects that I'll be working on while they're here...you know I
will...and of course, there shall be pictures. We'll have plenty to do together,
but my fingers will be itchy if I don't work in the studio once in a while.

For now, we're enjoying this now-perfect Florida weather - and each other.
It's always great to have family come to visit. We'll savor every second.
DonnaAcornSignature 

October 26, 2014

October 25, 2014

A Little More About American Feedsacks...

Feedsack fabric I purchased from Pat's Sacks Tuesday evening.
I received a question from my blog friend, Mandy on my recent feedsack post, asking me to explain how they were used. I'm sorry I wasn't more clear about that in my original post, so I'm going the share more photographs from Tuesday night, along with a further explanation for you.
Feedsacks were used to hold and transport various goods beginning in the early 1800s and ending in the mid-1960s. Originally, food staples, grains, seed and animal feed was packed into boxes and wooden barrels. These containers were bulky, and frequently leaked or were easily damaged. Plus, they were bulky and heavy to transport.

Manufacturers wanted another method for containing their goods, but homespun bags (considered "junk fabric") used by farmers to store goods at home, weren't considered because the hand sewn seams couldn't hold up to heavy use. After the invention of the sewing ("stitching") machine, it was more efficient and a sturdier method for double locking seams on cloth to hold those same goods. This technology then made fabric containers useful to manufacturers.
Feedsacks were originally made of heavy canvas and used to hold and carry flour, sugar, meal, grain, salt and feed from the mills, and they were reusable so the farmers could bring their empty sacks (stamped with their own identifying mark) back to the mill to be filled and refilled.

Farmers got a lot of use out of those sacks until the North East mills began weaving inexpensive cotton fabric in the late 1800s. Originally they were printed on plain, white cloth in sizes that corresponded to barrel sizes, (a one barrel bag held 196 pounds of flour.) and the brand names were simply printed on the side of the bag.
Once a thrifty farm wife figured out that the cotton bag was a ready source for dishcloths, diapers, nighties and other household items, they started bringing them in from the barns into their homes. "A 1942 estimate showed that three million women and children of all income levels were wearing printed feedbag garments."
When manufacturers realized just how their feedsacks were being used, they knew they had better advertising opportunities, making them in various prints and patterns, as well as in solid colors. Their salesmen would often carry their feedsacks into town and hang them over their chairs at the local eateries to promote their products. Directions were even given for using the strings in knitting and crocheting. Later, they used feedsacks as premiums, including them in soap and cereal boxes, for example.

I remember my mother purchasing large boxes of dry laundry detergent when I was a kid just for the "gift with purchase". It was fun to open those boxes and pull out the towel, shaking it to get the soap off.  Of course, if you wanted a matched set, you'd have to buy more soap!
Cecelia also gave me some cotton seeds so I could try growing my own plants!
Feedsacks became more colorful, with printed patterns that could more readily be used for dresses, tablecloths, curtains, pre-printed fabrics that were sewn together to make stuffed toys, and of course, those functional (and now beloved) quilts.

After World War II, heavier paper and plastic were more economical containers. The manufacturers then incorporated polyester into their bags, and the sacks soon fell out of favor with farm wives, who preferred the 100% cotton for their purposes. The cotton feedsacks were only produced until 1965, and the vintage ones have have become cherished collectibles.
A free handout from Cecelia of Pat's Sacks
I am, by no means any expert in this field. Most of what I'm sharing is due to the knowledge Cecelia shared with our guild on Tuesday evening. There are, however, many sources available to learn more about this fascination subject. 

In case you're interested, I know that there are a many examples of feedsack fabric and actual intact feedsacks available on Ebay (Don't bid against me, please). Have fun learning more thanks to the internet.

Thanks for the question, Mandy! I hope this helps clear things up a bit.
DonnaAcornSignature

October 24, 2014

Getting In The Spirit...

"Halloween Boo!" Bench Pillow Pattern
If you follow "Brynwood Needleworks" page on Facebook, you've already
seen these patterns. One of the gals brought it to my attention and we ended up 
with a number of people expressing interest in having their own copy of this one.

Each of these patterns, when made, is meant to cover a bench pillow - and 
all are interchangeable. There are also instructions to create the actual
bench pillow, using fabric and polyfill. Applique' is accomplished using
your favorite technique, but the photos show raw edge, fused applique'.
Make more than one and can change them out for the season or holiday.
"Halloween Boo!" Bench Pillow Pattern
These, and the patterns below, are available for purchase from Brynwood.
Orders will be taken on a "first come, first serve" basis. You can either
 leave a comment below (if you're not on Facebook), or you can let me know
 on the Brynwood page in the comments section. Once I run out of these,
I can order more, but you'll have to wait until the shipment comes in again.

Each pattern is $10.50, including first class domestic postage. I'll also send
overseas, but price will depend on actual shipping cost. Once you let me know
which pattern(s) you want, include your email and I will send you an invoice
you can pay by credit card through Square. I'll post upon receipt of payment.

You're free to leave comments about the patterns, but if you want to order
of the designs, please say you want to purchase and which ones you'd like.
(Feel free to email me through the link on my right sidebar if you'd prefer.)
"Gather Together" and "Welcome Autumn!" Bench Pillow Patterns
I also ordered a few copies of each of these patterns...these in fall holiday themes.
"Whimsy Winter" and "Deck The Halls!" Bench Pillow Patterns
These are for winter and Christmas. I can hardly believe it's right around
the corner! I guess I'll be starting my Christmas gift list pretty soon. Oh, boy!
Where did this past year go? Sorry...I got sidetracked. So, if you want one or
more of these patterns, please let me know right away. I think they'll go fast.
DonnaAcornSignature

October 23, 2014

Fascinated With Feedsacks...

 We had a special program at our guild meeting last night. Cecelia Reed
brought her vintage feedsack quilts, garments and bags to share with us.

I took over eighty photographs, but have managed to pare it down to ten to share.
 Cecelia's business is called "Pat's Sacks" after her mom, Pat who was a self-
proclaimed "hoarder" of all things related to feedsacks. Not only was Pat's home
decorated with feedsack creations, she had an entire room designated for all of
the vintage pieces she acquired over the years. Cecelia has taken over that role.
 As Pat began her program, she kept saying that the early quilts were boring and
drab. I kept thinking that I couldn't agree. Each of these quilts was an exercise
in color and frugality. Women of yesteryear saved and used every little piece
of fabric they could find to dress or warm their family members and loved ones,
and the designs were anything but boring. There was so much work in each one!
 This particular quilt is actually covered by another quilt in an 
effort to conceal and preserve the blocks beneath that were deteriorating.
Cecelia shared fully-intact sacks, as well as those which had been sewn into
aprons and other items. Even though she only brought a small selection of her 
favorites, there was still a staggering number of them displayed for our program.
Some of the nubby cotton sacks were cut up and sewn into baby (or adult) 
undergarments. Many of the original bags were burlap. Can you imagine 
wearing a pair of scratchy burlap undies every day? Those were the days!

Cecelia did mention that she sleeps on now-soft, cotton feedsack sheets.
Her quote was that sleeping on those vintage sheets is "absolute Heaven".
I was especially taken with this feedsack nighty with a crocheted bodice and 
sleeves. There was a soft, blue ribbon woven through the crocheting. I would
wear this in a heartbeat! I loved the air of nostalgia and those simple days gone by.
We all gasped when Cecelia opened up this Drunkard's Path quilt. So much work!
Likewise, this quilt was made from tiny scraps of vintage feedsacks. Many of these
 quilts were referred to as "summer quilts", because they were made with sacks on the
front and the back, with no cotton batting in between...lightweight for hot nights.
(These certainly don't read "boring and drab" to me. How about you?)
  Cecelia's mother created many of these quilts. She hand or machine pieced them
and then hand quilted them. She was a nationally recognized and awarded quilter.
Looking at her work, it was apparent that she loved creating every one of them.

Pat saved a 2" square of every feedsack she ever came across. Those squares 
were then stored in slip sheets in multiple looseleaf binders - now in her
daughter's possession. They are a definitive record of printed sacks in the United
States, and will eventually reside in an archive in Utah, where a person can
actually earn degree in feedsack expertise! She plans to hand deliver them when 
she decides that she's able to part with them. For now, she and guild members
are able to enjoy the vast wealth of knowledge Pat left in her daughter's hands.
DonnaAcornSignature 
PS. While my friend, Ellen's surgery took longer than expected yesterday, her surgeon is very happy with the results. We stayed in Ft. Myers until late day for a post-op appointment, and when the bandages came off, Ellen could see where she had previously been unable to see. She nearly cried for joy. I was blessed to be with her as we shared her happy results. I took her back home and then I returned home after 6:00. It was a long, tiring and thoroughly miraculous day. She wanted me to tell you, "Thank you from both of us for your prayers and kind wishes."

October 22, 2014

Done And Donated...

I thought you might like to see the second doll quilt I created for our guild
charity effort. Each year we create quilts for three different causes. We make
quilts for local Hospice groups, Headstart quilts for children and doll quilts
that are donated to the Salvation Army Toys for Tots program. These little
quilts are given with the dolls that the Salvation Army hands out for Christmas.

I made this quilt using vintage chenille on one side and a fishy fabric called
"Mermania" by Lorelei Designs. I love these fish. While I have more of the
chenille, I used all the "Mermania" fabric I had on this little quilt. Soft and sweet.
  Each quilt measures 24" square...just perfect for wrapping up a favorite dolly.
I've called this one "Fish Bowl" because of the fabric oval I appliqued' to the
striped chenille side. I think that actually makes this quilt reversible. I did a
simple meander to sandwich the fabrics and batting together. Done and donated!

Today, I'll be in Ft. Myers with our friend, Ellen, as she undergoes eye surgery.
Prayers for steady hands for her surgeon and complete healing for her would
be greatly appreciated. I'll be there all day, so no time in the studio 'til later.
 
Have a blessed Wednesday, my friends. See you tomorrow.
DonnaAcornSignature

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