Wednesday, November 28, 2012


It doesn't seem possible that Thanksgiving is already over, does it? I hope everyone had a good one! The day before the big day, I managed to injure my sacroiliac joint (didn't even know what that was until my doctor told me on Tuesday!), which kept me bed-bound for four days. I'm slowly getting back to normal but can't sit at my computer for very long periods of time, so while I recover a little more, I thought I'd do a quick post on my newest pincushion design. I call her "Love Bug" as she is a pink and gray ladybug made of hand-dyed wool and fanciful embellishments such as rick-rack and pom-poms. This past summer, the editor of Stitch, Craft, Create magazine asked me to design a wool project for them. Because of all my editing and writing work, it's hard to carve out any time to design these days but since she asked, I happily agreed! Love Bug is the result of my efforts and will be featured in a future issue of Stitch, Craft, Create magazine.

While flipping through the latest issue of the Stitch, Craft, Create magazine back in October, I noticed a photo of Love Bug in their Coming Soon feature!

Love Bug was inspired by my fondness for the color combo of pink and gray. Love Bug also happens to be the term of endearment that my husband uses for me—I suspect because I am lovable and at times, irritating! Hee hee! I will post more about Love Bug when the issue comes out. I've missed reading all your blogs but hope to be back to regular blogging—and blog reading—by next week!

Monday, November 19, 2012


As my hubby hung the new handmade clock that we found on our recent trip to the Twin Cities on our kitchen wall this weekend, I was reminded of how quickly time flies—particularly in relationship to the rapid approach of Thanksgiving! It's become a family tradition that I host the gathering at my house, and I look forward each year to seeing family and friends. In past years, we have not only invited family but friends, coworkers, etc. who would have otherwise spent the holiday alone. It is a good time to be reminded of all our blessings. And in this year of challenges, it's worth celebrating the fact that we are still standing! This year, my fondest hope is that my grandma will be able to join us. Although she is in pretty good health for her age, I don't take for granted the time we have with her.

I've been working some overtime hours this weekend to complete work assignments so I can devote my time starting tomorrow to preparing for the Thanksgiving gathering. It's time to roll out the welcome mat for our guests. The Victorians seemed to love these motifs with hands, so I thought it was appropriate to hang one on the front door of our old 1885 Victorian home. I can easily change out the greeting to fit the occasion. That is an old-fashioned doorbell below the sign. You turn it instead of push it like modern doorbells.

It's also time to polish those china teapots and teacups! I have been collecting antique English teapots, particularly Sadler ones, since I was a young newlywed.

I like to mix and match pink and green plates and goblets on my dining table, although some years I go simple with brown transferware.

Soon, I'll be retrieving those trusted holiday recipes from the handy cookbook cupboard in the kitchen...

I've been trying recipes from this trusted cookbook for the past 15 years. It's a fitting cookbook for someone who lives in a yellow farmhouse, don't you think?!

It has a wonderful recipe for trifle with Grand Marnier! Yes, Mom, this teetotaler does enjoy a little liqueur now and then! She likes to tease me about the fact that we have a wine rack in our kitchen but never drink anything from it. 

Guess, I'd better get back to work if I intend to be ready to work on Thanksgiving preparations tomorrow. Just wanted to drop in and say hello!

Thursday, November 15, 2012


A week ago, my friend Merry and I enjoyed a girl's day out. We headed out bright and early on an antiquing road trip. There's something about the prospect of discovering old treasures that puts a spring in my step. Every trip to an antiques shop is an adventure of sorts. One of the shops we visited resembled an old colonial home with inviting vignettes such as this antique Log Cabin quilt and a huge wooden spinning wheel.

More quilts could be found in this cozy corner near a weathered blanket chest. The rooms were so inviting that Merry and I joked we could move right in and be quite comfortable there! There was even a warm fire in a pot-bellied stove to keep us warm.

In another shop, I spotted this charming vintage toy sewing machine. Its floral decals, though faded, were still visible. I love the patina of time. It makes an antique so much more interesting! I don't like it when things look too new!

Couldn't resist getting a few of these vibrant vintage red and blue bobbins for $1 each.

I love trying new soaps and the prettier, the better. Isn't this shop display of soaps lovely? I was very tempted to buy some, but I was gifted an even nicer bar of soap that morning. Merry gave me a lovely bar of soap that she recently made in her soapmaking class. It smelled divine and I loved how it perfumed my car. What a great natural air freshener.

I spotted this fanciful child's cupboard in one of the shops. To give you an idea of its size, it is about 3 feet tall. It's actually standing on a tabletop. It even has a little cutting board that pulls out. And yes, I'm ashamed to say it did come home with me.

For several years, I have collected old and new putz houses. I even used to make them but just don't have the time anymore. These vintage Japanese ones were quite colorful. 

The colors and floral decals on this delicate dressing table reminded me of a vintage sewing box I recently found (featured in an earlier post here). The night before we went on our trip, I had watched the Robert Redford-version of The Great Gatsby on AMC and the table reminded me of something that the Daisy Buchanan character might have had in her dressing room! It's funny how certain things can spark a memory. The Great Gatsby just happens to be one of my favorite books. 

As we approached another shop, we were pleasantly surprised to be greeted by a friendly black cat named Zoe. What a sweetheart. When I say that we spent nearly as much time petting her as we did looking at the antiques in this particular shop, I'm only being half facetious!

Harriet, the other resident shop kitty, was not quite as friendly as Zoe, but she did hang out long enough to say hello. She looks a little irritated in this photo but it was the only photo I was able to snap of her as she couldn't seem to sit still for very long.

How fitting for two cat lovers like us to happen upon these signs with a sentiment that all cat lovers would agree with! Isn't it so true?!

By the end of the day, Merry and I had explored eight shops. Before we knew it, it was time to head for home. We had both found some wonderful treasures and were already looking forward to what future antiquing adventures await us. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


During our trip to the Twin Cities, my husband and I ventured over to nearby Anoka for some antiques shopping. While there, I spotted a large sign that read "Quilts" on a brick building. How could I resist such a temptation? Millie P's Quilt Shop—now in its second year—was a refreshing surprise. This vivacious shop literally brimmed with bright fabrics—one of the owner's passions. But I bring good tidings to those of you who are 19th-century repro fans, too. The owner is expanding into those prints, which will be housed in their spacious upstairs! One of the friendly employees told me that they were already starting to arrive.

With a name like Millie P's, I had to ask the owner who the shop was named after. It turns out it's her mom, Millie Pearl, who was a sewer by necessity but did so with flair. The apple didn't fall far from the tree as the owner also has a flair for shop displays and fabric choices. I love the way these kits were packaged so sweetly in the see-through pink-lined bags. 

Kits like this pocketbook cover in a retro kitchen print cater to convenience with fabric that the shop pre-quilted. Talk about a time saver! 

I was delighted to find a fabulous selection of Riley Blake fabric—one of my favorite fabric manufacturers. It turns out one of the shop employees is a fellow pincushion fan who also designs pincushions, and she'd seen my Sitting Pretty chair pincushion on the Riley Blake website! What a small world. It was fun chatting with her and seeing her delightful designs.

The shop boasts patterns and pre-cuts galore to inspire the imagination. I saw many patterns that I'd never seen in other shops before. 

For the garment sewer, there were cute aprons and kids clothes to stir the imagination. 

With Halloween just around the corner when I visited, a festive array of not-too-spooky prints took center stage outside this charming cabin. 

I took many other photos of this fun shop, but I'll let you discover it more fully for yourself someday! I'd highly recommend a visit. Tell them Kimber sent you! I know I will be returning when we go up to the Twin Cities again. To help whet your creative appetite, I'll close this post with a photo of some of my fun finds.

Monday, November 12, 2012


In my previous post, I hinted about a neat find from my recent Twin Cities visit. I meant to post it sooner but have been inundated with work deadlines. We're featuring two additional projects than the usual 15 for the next issue of the primitive quilts magazine, and several magazine article deadlines are just around the corner! But I'm back to share my recent find. While exploring yet another antiques shop, we happened upon this old Victorian dresser with a lovely marble top. It's made of butternut but was painted green probably in the 1920s. No matter, because I happen to love the color. The only problem was that we brought the car that time instead of the truck, so my husband made a deal with me. He said if we could get it for XX amount, he would go back and get it. We decided on a pretty low figure because we had to factor in the gas that it would cost to go back up, so we were certain the owner would not accept it. Happily, she did and unhappily for my husband, he had to drive back up and get it the following weekend!

At the same antiques shop, I found this sweet Victorian photograph of two little girls and their china doll. I don't often find photos that include a doll, so it was a delightful find at just a $1.

Speaking of dolls, check out these china beauties that I saw this past weekend. The one in the back right even has brown eyes, which I'm told is fairly rare.

I loved the sweet expression and black locks of this lovely doll. 

My favorite antique dolls are the peg woodens and chinas, but the French fashion dolls are certainly exquisite.

I spotted this darling antique doll trunk but it was a little bit more than I wanted to spend at $22.

Being a sheep lover, I was delighted to see this antique sheep pull toy, but at more than $2,000, he was well out of my price range!

That makes the reproduction sheep pull toy that my husband gave to me for Christmas a few years ago even sweeter. Here he is with my red sock monkey.

Next time, I'll be sharing pics of an inspiring quilt shop that I visited while I was in the Twin Cities. Hope you can join me!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


In a previous post, I shared some photos of vintage goodies we happened upon during our latest trip up to the Twin Cities. I'm back with some more eye candy to indulge in. Here are some scenes from a shop that was filled with some of my favorite things—antique quilts...

...and delightful vintage pincushions like this little chair. I already have a collection of vintage rocking chair pincushions and don't usually like to spend more than $5 on them since they are so plentiful. This one was tempting but beyond that budget!

Many a time have I picked up old photographs like these for a song. As someone once called them, these "instant relatives" fit right into my Victorian home!

In a corner of the shop, I spotted a shelving unit filled with vintage buttons, including these lovely pink pearls. 

The dealer was obviously a button aficionado as she had a complete set of The National Button Bulletin—a great resource for button lovers. I bought a few copies as they were only a $1 each.

I have a soft spot for vintage doll and children's paper-covered trunks. I probably have too many already, so these did not come home with me.

Two of my weakness are lamps and old frames. I'd never seen a frame like this metal one before. The label said it was a folk art crown of thorns frame. At $1850, it was way out of my budget!

So what did come home with me? Well, this collection of antique Victorian children's periodicals dating from 1897 to 1904 was one find. 

The lady who worked in the shop was very nice and asked me what kinds of things I liked. After I named off a list of about 10 things, she returned with this bag of treasures for just $12. There were 58 issues in the bag, so how could I pass it up?!

I also found a fun vintage Singer sewing book from the 1940s to add to my collection of vintage sewing books. 

I guess it was meant to be because the illustrations were all in my favorite shade of pink!

I also found some other treasures on my trip and will share those in a future post. The antique marble background in the next to last photo is a hint.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


As Election Day arrives, I am reminded of the many tireless women who fought so hard for our right to vote. With them in mind as much as the challenges that our country is facing, I stopped by my local Elections office to vote yesterday. I thought it would be faster than voting today but wow, was I wrong! The line stretched outdoors, but I wasn't going to let that deter me. I was so pleased to see many young women like myself exercising their right to vote. In honor of Election Day, I thought it would be fitting to share this 1889 photo of the Iowa Woman Suffrage Association convention, which took place in my hometown! In the center of the first row is Carrie Chapman Catt, who served as president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association after Susan B. Anthony retired from the position in 1900.

Like many families, my relatives don't always agree when it comes to politics, but we try our best to respect each other's differences. My fondest wish is that those less fortunate will someday get to reap all the advantages that I have been so fortunate to enjoy in my lifetime. My grandma always taught me that when we have been blessed—whether it be through our talents, good fortune, or good health—we are honor-bound to pay it forward to others in need. As I always say, the good you do for others will come back to you!

Friday, November 2, 2012


On our way to the Twin Cities last week, my husband and I stopped by an enchanting antiques shop filled with all the sorts of stuff that I like—Victorian autograph albums, old dolls, English teapots, 1960s vintage kitchenware. As I explored its nooks and crannies, I came upon a huge cabinet of drawers—each filled with sewing treasure. Would you like to take a peek inside?

Being a pincushion fanatic, this label was enough to make my heart skip a beat. There were three such drawers.

Inside I spotted a charming vintage puzzle ball pincushion. Didn't get it but what a delight to see.

Another drawer harbored delicate vintage lace trim galore.

Vintage hankies—one of my favorite collectibles—filled another drawer. 

Another drawer revealed vintage crochet thread. Other drawers (not shown) held vintage pinking shears, buttons, belt buckles, sewing cases, etc.

Nearby, a glass case tempted with vintage tape measures—some made of celluloid and vegetable ivory. There was even a beautiful antique sewing bird for about $300. In another post, I will have to show you mine which I've had for years. 

Despite being tempted by so many vintage sewing goodies, I was very disciplined and only bought a couple items, including this vintage spool stand for $15. It's not an exceptionally old one but I liked its basic form and I figure I can always paint it someday.

Speaking of vintage spools, check out this creative shelf made of them. At nearly $800, it was too pricey for my budget!

Before we left, I spotted a cupboard full of vintage quilts. None came home with me as I had already busted my vintage quilt budget during my earlier trip to the Twin Cities this month when I found a couple 1930s quilts.

Did you enjoy this little visit? If so, stop by later for more eye candy from my Twin Cities trip.