Saturday, November 30, 2013

Creative Boost

We look forward to our Bizarre Bazaar on the Saturday after Thanksgiving every year. It's a tradition that dates back several decades.

We buy some gifts. We admire the creativity and the wonderful art. Much of the art uses recycled and found materials. Rugs woven from t-shirts. Books made with old baseball cards and album covers. Signs made with cut-up license plates.

And we get lots of ideas. You know what we think: "I can make that!" But of course, there is never time to make everything you want to make ...

My favorite artist this year was Max McGraw. Max paints on broken skateboards. He's a student at South Middle School and he's been doing skateboard art for two years now. His work has a true folk art feel. This cat had to go home with us.

Remember (and if you want to contact Max, email him at

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has become one of my favorite holidays. We get to eat a great meal with people we love and give thanks for all that is good.

Happy Thanksgiving to you! Thank you for sharing my joy for all things textile and thrifty. And enjoy a look at my latest rug, one created for a very colorful entryway.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Toothbrush Chairpads

Now this was fun.

My friend Georgann has a colorful new house. I love it. The rooms are painted in bold colors - the kitchen is an especially wonderful warm, buttery gold.She has some nice wood chairs there but the seats needed a little cushioning.

This is a good time to whip out the toothbrush and make a little rug. All you need to do is make a pattern of the seat shape. Start your rug so it is the same shape as the seat and it will fit just fine.

For my runner/base, I used a shaggy woven loom end. More about those soon. The worker pieces were bright colors, some picked by Georgann, some added in by me.

I added one extra row of stitches on the chair front to fill it out.

I love how they turned out. You can make one of these in no time at all!

Monday, November 18, 2013

33 pounds of fabric

Four sweaters
I did an inventory of my fabric by the pound purchases today. I am pleased to report that I was happy with what I picked (which I will admit I quickly picked and threw into the cart, no second guesses).

It was a helluva buy. I got 33 pounds of fabric. That included:

4 sweaters (for a project I have in mind)

For rugs:
red flat sheet (queen)
green square (card table size)
red round tablecloth
purple/green pillow sham
chambray duvet cover (king)
Big stuff
blue chenille bedspread (queen)
twin flat sheet

Clothing to cut up:
long sleeve shirts - 5
shirt sleeve shirts: 5
kids cotton clothes: 8
crib size flannel blanket
cotton pants
cotton skirt
ralph lauren t-shirt (could not pass up even with a hole)
cotton bags: 2
cotton dishcloths: 2
awesome linen skirt
Fabric 1 (all cotton)
cotton shorts

For possible wear:
tie-dye shawl
red bandana
knit pants (improbable but who knows)
awesome Austin t shirt (i have it on now, freshly washed)

3 woven trivets
odd vintage doll
hand dyed (rust/red/brown/orange/off-white)
10' x 12' civichrome elite muslin photographer drop cloth
More fabric (mostly cotton, some linen)

It cost:
$45.87 (plus tax)

If you are a confident fabric selector, this is a GOOD BUY!! I am fortunate to live with someone who calls this cheap entertainment. It is certainly that. The washing machine is busy here!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Fabric by the Pound

We are supposed to be sightseeing this week, but the girls left us alone for a day or two ...

So I start googling best thrift shops in Austin. The one I wrote about a few days ago, Uncommon Objects, popped up first on that list (no surprise). I read that there are 25 Goodwills in the Austin area and the queen of them all is called the Blue Hangar. It was called legendary: "a south-east Austin warehouse, this is where excess clothing from the surrounding Goodwill locations comes to its final resting place before being swept away into your arms." It mentioned competition and a price of $1.39 PER POUND. And it warned: "This place is for the most hardened of treasure hunters or newbie thrill seekers."

We were off!

Here's how it works: you enter a large warehouse space with many windows. Shopping carts are available. Aisles are created between large, shallow plastic wheeled bins. As new goods are wheeled onto the floor, they are lined up in a new area that is off-limits. Crowds line up at the edge (the regulars know the rules) and when a sign is given (i missed who gives the signal), people race into the area! Swarm!! You quickly notice there are serious regulars who are not to be messed with. I did notice snatching, but mostly fairly civilized behavior.

When the cart is full (my sign to stop), you head for the checkout. There is a scale in the floor - you transfer your goods into a cart on it, and voila! It is weighed.

I was grateful we were there on a weekday afternoon. I shudder to think how nuts this place could be on a weekend. I'll post the news of what I found there in a future blog ...

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


I'm always on the scout for a project I can take with me to stitch by hand. I'm in several stitch groups and you can get a lot done if you have a project ready to work on ...

I noticed this quilt in the antique shop in Austin - ta-da! I think it would be a great take-along project because:

A. I like it.

B. I can have the circle blocks ready and do the endless decorative stitching at stitch group. We are working with silk and silk ties these days - won't this be a good project for that.

Here's a detail shot:

And a bit of stitch inspiration:

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Austin Antiques

We are in Austin. What a place. Our girls moved here and there is much to see and do.

We stopped in an antique shop on South Congress. They call it raw materials - I noticed:

  • incredible displays, items grouped by colors.
  • great quilts - note the antique improv.
  • cool things we can do with our sewing items.

A spool shelf
Giant wool hexagons
Silky improv
Scrappy strings

Last, but far from least, are these strings of wooden spools. I collect them. But I just keep them in containers - look how great they look all strung together and hung up.

I can't wait to do that when I get home. I'll probably find I need to collect MORE.