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Now and Then

I love it when my work is transformative.  If only it were so easy when the project is Me.

The challenge was to create something new, that looks very old.
The legs were hand sanded, leaving a patina of stain, then lightly waxed. I used a remnant of an antique oriental rug to upholster the stool.
Transformed.

The stool as it came to me. 1960's maybe?
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The Good Ole Days

Vintage Finds to Inspire

Not so very long ago, recycling was a way of life, not a trend.  A surprising, if not charming, reminder of this wended itself my way at an antique shop in Brunswick, ME.  A feed sack, of all things, was purposed for fiber art!  Utterly functional in getting supplies to the farm, this beautiful coral cotton sack was printed with inks that are easily removed expressly for the purpose of allowing the cloth to become a dress, a curtain, a pair of knickers.  It is a fabulous concept that I had never come across before.  I’m completely enamored.  As my husband and I continued our flea market hopping, as we are known to do, this fabulous thing that I had never been aware of before kept presenting itself.  And I lost all control.  I purchased every feed, salt, and growing ration sack from Woolwich to Bath.  And now, to the studio.  Must.  Sew.

So many options. My head is spinning with design ideas.
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Remnants

As a fiber lover, stash management is always an issue.  Everything seems to have such intrinsic value.  And that has only been getting worse for me as I’ve been exploring rug hooking and quilting.  Every little tiny scrap is suddenly a representative of enormous value.  I don’t want to throw anything away.  This is especially true when I am working with vintage textiles, rugs, and linens.  I love discovering the new life that lies hidden in an old tea towel or tattered rug, repurposing its charm into pillows, purses, and brooches.  But what to do with the remains?  Those leftover little pieces of antiquity that lie on the cutting table?  This has become my personal challenge:  find the latent purpose of these remnants of our forebears.  They certainly wouldn’t have wasted a scrap, so why should I?

Small remnants of an antique rug find new life.
These are the perfect accent for so many styles of decor.
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And it progresses

it's coming along...

I seem to have settled in on a color palette of apricot/blush, turquoise, brown, green, and creamy shades of taupe.  I’m still searching for a few more pieces of fabric to complement the background colors.  Unfortunately, whenever I find the perfect piece of wool to work with, inevitably it is being worn as part of some lucky person’s ensemble (pants, skirts, etc.).  A little inappropriate to get all grabby about it.  Not sure what I’m thinking for the penny motif in the upper right corner, but then I never know what I’m thinking.

close up

I’m absolutely enthralled with pulling this rug together.  There is something so mesmerizing about testing the different color combinations and directions to hook any given area.  And I love how forgiving hooking is.  If I don’t like something I did three days ago, I go back and “reverse hook” it.  That is a polite way of saying I ripped it all out and started over.  But the joy is that, unlike in knitting, I don’t have to rip out everything I’ve done for three days to get back to that one section.  All other completed work remains intact.

When all is said and done, this rug should measure about 2′ x 3′.  It’s gonna be perfect for a bathroom or in front of the sink or entry.  I already have visions of it defining a small play area in any room.  The wool is a combination of  recycled/reclaimed and new pieces that I pickup at Wool and Goods, so I guess I’ve covered all the bases if you are looking for something old, something new, and something blue, too.

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Just Finished Hooking

I had so much fun with the the Sunflower Hooked Pillow that I wanted to play more with the concept.  These two pieces will be made up into petite mini pillows about 6″ square.  My mind’s eye already sees them nestled among books and soaps and flowers or settled on a little person’s rocking chair.  Both are hooked with strips of deconstructed clothing.  One repeats the Sunflower’s color scheme.  For the other I experimented with a background in various shades of milky tea and smoky lavender.  I love the effect.

a background of milky tea tones and smokey lavender
a sunny dahlia
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sunny side up

swatches of life get loved, used, worn out, discarded

to be collected again and treasured

the suit jacket grandpa wore to church every sunday

dad’s goofy pants he donned to support his favorite baseball team

your mother’s woolen skirt–the one you clung to when strangers came to the door

Hooked Rug

-noun

a rug made by drawing up loops of fabric or yarn through a foundation fabric such as burlap or linen to form a pattern.

a technique developed in the mid-1800s in N. America using bits of wool from old clothing and feed sacks for the foundation.

Sources:  dictionary.com and Old Oaks Ranch.


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Recipe for Recycling: A Tutorial of Sorts

Homemade Organic Chocolates in Repurposed Packaging

Cute Hubby has been doing some organizing as of late, namely, taking charge of the myriad of photos and slides of the family that need to be documented in some sort of meaningful way.  No small task.  I think he got overwhelmed, because this guy is earth-friendly personified, but still I was alarmed to find dozens of cute little Kodak slide boxes in the recycling bin!  Determined to put them to good repurposed use, I set about on my design challenge.  I’ll spare you the details of the outright failures and the ideas that just did not have quite enough air beneath their wings to fly and jump right to the good stuff.

Chocolate!!

Yep.  When in doubt, count on chocolate.  My homemade chocolates needed some packaging and my dreams of repurposed ecofriendly gift treats were realized.

This is such an easy project.  It takes little time and even less skill!

Organic Chocolate Ingredients

Ingredients:

A chocolate bar of your choice.  Organic Fair Trade is best.  Choose the darkness and sugar content of your liking.

An assortment of all the little organic goodies you like blanketed in chocolate.  I used some almonds, pecans, dried cherries, dried cranberries, and coconut.  But don’t let that limit you.  Go crazy!

What To Do:

Step 1:  Break the chocolate up into smallish pieces and melt them in the top of a double boiler.  If you don’t have a double boiler, just use a small stainless steel bowl set over a pot of simmering water.

Step 2:  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spoon rounds of chocolate out–about 6 at a time.  The size is really up to you, but I spooned out circles of chocolate just a bit bigger than a quarter.  Let these set up for a minute.

Step 3:  On top of each dollop of chocolate add a couple of nuts or coconut or anything else you’d like.

Step 4:  Drizzle a little bit more chocolate over each one to secure the fixings.

Step 5:  Repeat until you have all the chocolate treats of your dreams.  Let cool completely.

Step 6:  Lick the bowl!

So Simple

The packaging itself couldn’t be easier.  I just lined each Kodak slide box with a piece of parchment paper and installed four chocolates in each one.  If you don’t just happen to have these little slide boxes laying around, look to see what you do have–Altoid boxes?  Jewelry cases?  Old-fashioned typewriter tins?  You’ll know it when you see it.

The only thing left to be done, it seems, is to distribute the candies and become a hero!

Enjoy!

Yum!