Vintage Swap 2009


These last few weeks thrifting has taken on an added level of excitement as I prepared a package for Julia as part of Vintage Swap 2009, organized by Heather of Shivaya Naturals. Julia told me she liked muted colors, blues, greens and browns and was interested in vintage fabrics to make things for her Etsy shop.

This is what I found for her:


A few vintage napkins, a vintage pillowcase, several yards of a vintage flowered fabric and that lovely blue vintage flannel — there’s lots of that. Just right for Etsy sewing, I thought.


And a couple other little treats, like a pair of vintage green knitting needles and a few cards by my favorite Gwen Frostic.


So that’s the giving. But with swaps there’s always joy in the receiving, too and Julia did a lovely job finding treats for me:




Can you see there’s a teeny, tiny “h” on this teeny, tiny fork? Little vintage napkins, a tiny saucer, a lovely old pillowcase (just right for backing doll quilts), some buttons and two old Golden Books — Heidi and The Lively Little Rabbit, which I didn’t think I knew, until I saw this picture:


Who could forget an image like that? It came back to me in a flash — one of my favorite childhood books, rediscovered! Thank you so much, Julia! What a lot of joy you sent in one small package!


frogs and frolics

This post could also be titled “Good Things Come to Those Who Wait,” since I’ve been waiting two years to put this dress on this girl! And as you can see, it’s still a little big on her.

But what a payoff! She loves it, which is so satisfying, because there’s something about this crazy vintage fabric of mushrooms and frogs that really floats my boat! I just love it. There are also matching pantaloons, which L. will have no part of. But hey, I’m grateful she’s wearing it at all. And for a lovely frolic in the park, no less. If only the weather would cooperate, we could get this summer started! But rainy days are great for going to the thrift store…hmm, maybe I like rainy days after all.






Souvenirs of California

As the wind howls outside, bending the trees (do I hear cracking — oh, I hope not!) and sleeting snow is blown sideways with incredible force, of course my thoughts turn to our recent trip to warm and sunny southern California. Thanks to my generous husband, I got to go thrifting and exploring with my friend, while he watched the five little ones. And there were treasures to be found!

California fabric

Thrifting in California — really spoke to a sense of place — all the things I saw seemed to tell tales of home movies, brightly-decorated homes, TV dinners, and sewing costumes or wearing them. Found some great linen napkins (above) and two breakfast trays with butterfly designs (a perfect surprise for two little girls I know!). 

new to Nature Table

And while walking around later, we found some treasures for the Nature Table, some beautiful reminders of the seussically magical flora and fauna of southern California. Pepper berries from a pepper tree and the dried-out insides of cactus plants, as well as a couple lovely pine cones. So good to have these little gems, which dapple my imagination with sun, since spring seems most unwilling to arrive here in snowy, chilly Chicago.

Thrifting joy

Do you ever feel like the thrift store is calling to you? I certainly do and this past Monday it was more like my favorite local spot was actually pulling me into its orbit, dragging me toward it, whether I wanted to go or not. But, you may well ask, when have I not wanted to go to a thrift store? 

And sure enough, treasures were there for the finding. Like this pile of vintage fabric:


Including this hand-embroidered table runner — if you could only see the true buttery color of the linen cloth!


Or this, beautiful — can it really be silk?–fabric, with the evocative label, “Chardon Marche 1969.”


And these absolutely wild, wild prints, so of their time! (and ours…)


And then this sweet gauzy fabric, with its little carriages and lanterns and words in French.


And two pairs of gorgeous green corduroy trousers and a cozy gray cashmere sweater — for me! So happy you were calling to me, thrift store. We are friends, aren’t we?

I thrift, therefore I am…

I keep thinking about the Samuel Johnson saw, “He who is tired of London, is tired of life…” I think if I were ever to tire of looking for quirky treasures at thrift stores or yard sales, it would be time to call it a day. The thrill of finding lovely surprises in acres of cast-offs is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Here are some great things from half-price Monday this week which I wanted to share, including a turned wood canister, and an amazing coffee pot with a Swedish saying on it — translation to follow? It will probably need to be a vase for spring daffodils, since all the coffee-making mechanism is missing.


I also found the perfect pink linen for my newest (read, first) embroidery project — an adaptation of C.’s drawing “Dance of the Flower Fairies, part I.”


It happened to come in the form of a very large large dress, but I have my scissors at the ready. I want to make C. a little embroidered wall hanging, a la SouleMama, but I don’t have the patience to wait for guidance from her new book, which is arriving soon, USPS-willing. I’m going to dive in and do my best until the instructions arrive. I feel like SouleMama is such a kindred spirit – what fun to see all that creative energy flower into a book!