Saturday, January 31, 2009

Meet the Resident Shelties!

Meet my favorite charms of daily life! They are our three sweet shelties: Ginger, Carrie, and Bonnie Lass!

Both Carrie and Bonnie were our "rescue" pups. Carrie had been returned to her breeder, manager of Michigan Sheltie Rescue. Bonnie was due to go to Sheltie Rescue when I received an email from a friend who received an email from a friend who worked in a veterinary office and knew of the elderly couple's difficulty in caring for her.

These kids provide us with their funny antics, devoted loyalty, and unconditional love all the ordinary days of our lives. If I want to know how to live my life in the best possible way, all I have to do is take a lesson from the fur kids. They are the greatest!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Feedsack Flower Garden Scrap Quilt!

This vintage feedsack and cotton quilt was completely hand-stitched by a quilter long ago. I discovered it while shopping an antique mall in Ohio. It's always fun to see how other quilters have used their smaller fabric scraps to make beautiful keepsakes! This quilter surely had a sense of humor—can you find the Panda Bear in the first photo. Who knows what other secrets this quilt may hold!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Vintage Feedsack Hot Pad or Pot Holder!

Here's a really pretty little vintage cotton and feedsack hot pad. I didn't make this myself by rather found it at a flea market sale a while ago. I thought the different feedsack fabric colors and patterns were so sweet I just had to have it. And I also thought these would make cool vintage gifts for friends and family. However, I didn't want to take it apart to make a pattern. So, I'm wondering, does anyone have a pattern for this hot pad that they could share online? Or suggest where I might find one?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Who Remembers the Pinafore?

I couldn't believe my eyes when I found this 1940's Simplicity size 3 pinafore pattern for little girls—just like the one I wore as child. It was my favorite clothing and I often wore it to visit my favorite aunt who lived just down the block from us.
Auntie Sep, would meet me at the door and out we'd go to walk in her fabulous flower garden filled with beautiful blooms of all the brilliant colors of the rainbow. Here I was introduced to blue bachelor buttons, yellow daffodils, and best of all her prized pink & white bleeding hearts.

"They look like broken hearts," I told my aunt.

Auntie Sep explained that the broken hearts which grew in profusion were one of God's miracles. They were, she said, a sign of His understand of those times when our hearts ached but that there would always be His promise of hope. As we walked hand-in-hand enjoying God's miracles, I grew to understand that life is made up not only of happy days but also days of disappointment. Yet there would always be the joy of God's love for us to share.

(The entire story of BLEEDING HEARTS can be found in the book of memoirs, THE WISHING YEARS by Coralie Cederna Johnson, available at Wildwood Press.)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Smocking—Is It A Lost Art?

I found this 1946 Simplicity smocking pattern in with the vintage dress patterns from my antique mall find a few weeks ago and thought I'd share it with you.

Does anyone do smocking anymore? I know my mother spent hours and hours making beautiful little girls' dresses with smocking. However, I've never been able to master this art! I tried it a couple of times a long time ago and couldn't get the "hang" of it so finally gave it up. Maybe if I'd had this pattern back then I could have figured it out...well, maybe not.

I think smocking is amazing and beautiful...but is it a lost art?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

1946 Apron Pattern!

Here's another of the treasured vintage patterns I found at the Maumee Antique Mall in Ohio on New Year's Day. Since I have a huge collection of aprons (which I must get laundered, pressed & photographed in 2009) I am always interested in finding either the aprons themselves or vintage pictures from the past. So I was thrilled to find this amazing apron pattern from the 1940's.

(Aren’t the illustrations wonderful! And don’t you just love the hairdo's?)

Friday, January 23, 2009


I've decided to join the GYPSY CARAVAN of ONE WORLD-
ONE HEART! I am offering this beautiful 4-piece set of aqua and floral vintage-look cloth dinner napkins as a Free Giveaway!

To enter, just leave a comment on this post. (Be sure to leave a link back so I can contact you, if you are the lucky winner!)

On Feb 12, 2009 the winning name will be chosen in a random drawing & will be announced in a post on this blog!

Joining the ONE WORLD - ONE HEART Giveaway is about reaching out and meeting new blogging friends from around the world. Meeting kindred spirits with whom to share ideas, experiences and creativity is the main purpose of the giveaway! But winning the prize is also great fun! So be sure to leave your comment on this post! For more giveaways & information go to:!

Click here for my other OWOH giveaway: The Charms of Ordinary Days.

Reflection on a Cottage Morning

It was such a beautiful sun-swept day, I was puttering about in the barkcloth bedroom when suddenly this sweet sunny image appeared to me with its reflection on the wall. 

How beautiful, I thought! I wondered if I could capture the moment? The sun's rays would change in a minute. I'd have to hurry!

As I gathered up my camera, I found I, too, was reflecting. Thinking. Wondering. How many times had I passed by this reflection not noticing it at all. How many times had I missed the view here and elsewhere while hurriedly rushing about?

I, right then and there, renewed a promised I'd made to myself long ago! I would notice and enjoy the simple treasures all around me! I would take the time to see and cherish the charms of ordinary days! I would look for reflections wherever they may be and hold them dear!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Vintage 50's Girls' Dress Pattern!

Here's another of my collectible pattern finds from the vintage pattern lot. This adorable size 10 girls' dress pattern is from the 1950's. This Simplicity Pattern sold for 40 cents!This particular pattern brings back some very cool and endearing memories of my mother at her sewing machine making dresses for my sisters and me.

Often, my mother would make her own patterns from newspaper which she would lay on the floor, estimate my size, then pin the pattern pieces to me (well, to my clothing) to see if they were correct. Then she'd trim, cut and sew!

Here's one of my favorite newspaper dresses from those sewing sessions. That's me on my fifth birthday in my new pretty pink dress, compliments of Mom.

Sun-swept Beauty At My Cottage Window

The southern exposure of this room lends itself to sunny days and cheerful thoughts. I hung a vintage panel of barkcloth on this window to match the panel behind the bed, (shown in Tuesday's post). I love how the sun sweeps through the blinds and then also through this beautiful old textile to create a aura of vintage times and cottage dreaming.

The hanging bird is a copper piece I received as a gift from my younger sister, Connie. The ribbon with which I tied the drapery piece is one that once trimmed a precious gift from my older sister, Corinne. Treasured gifts of birds and ribbons always find special places in my cottage home and heart.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Gift of Love To Be Cherished

My daughter and I were visiting relatives in another city and decided to check out the local antique shop one spring day a few years ago. Once inside the door, I surged ahead looking, hunting, scouring the shelves, walls and floor arrangements for hidden treasures. (I call them hidden because it seems I can look right at an area, come back and find new things in just a few minutes!)

A lovely old mixing bowl in a deep brown earthy color caught my eye as did a few beautifully embroidered vintage linens. So, having discovered all I would that trip, I trekked on over to the check out area. Only to find my daughter, a former non-antique person, handing this beautiful painting over to the owner to be wrapped. What? How could I have missed such a wonderful find and for only $5? I couldn't believe it!

I told my daughter how proud I was of her for finding such a great piece and for such a thrifty price. I also told her that, if she ever wanted to part with it, to let me know! She just smiled and said, "Sure, Mom."

Three years later, after having enjoyed the painting in her apartment, she moved into her beautiful new home with her new husband. It was time for a garage sale! When I arrived, I saw the painting and was just about to shout when my daughter picked up the painting and came to me with the piece in hand. "I know you've always loved this, Mom. I've loved it, too, but I want you to have it now," she said.

"Oh thank you, Honey! I'll cherish it," I told her and I do!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Beauty of Vintage Barkcloth

I really love the look of all kinds of vintage textiles, from old feed and flour sacks to embroidered dish towels, but barkcloth has a special place in my heart for it is not only beautiful, but it also reminds me of times long past.

Homes in the 1940's were filled with barkcloth draperies, chair covers, and pillows in stunning colors and tropical designs. Exotic birds, cabbage roses, and old-time scenes were some of the most popular prints.

The softly muted tones of barkcloth add to the peace and quiet of the day. Although I have barkcloth pieces throughout our home, I especially love them in this bedroom. So cottage cozy!

(I stitched the barkcloth pillow on the ice cream chair from a $3 piece of barkcloth found in a bin of scraps in an antique mall booth. I think someone else might have thought it wasn't ever going to amount to much of anything. But it's turned out to be one of my favorite cottage accessories!)

Monday, January 19, 2009

#14: 1930's Quilt Block-"The Windmill of Amsterdam"

The Detroit Times published a series of quilt block patterns in the 1930's. This one called "The Windmill of Amsterdam" was accompanied by the following text:

"It is, indeed, an inspiring sight to see the gay colored blades of the windmills of Holland as they revolve in the warm Spring air."
Have you made a block in this pattern? Or a similar block? Was it called The Windmill of Amsterdam or by another name?

Cottage Finds: Hand-painted & Hand-stitched Treasures!

Don't you just love this blue hand-painted piece against the antique rose dishes? I found the little floral plaque at our local thrift store for $2. Though I love creating a variety of crafting projects, I also always enjoy the work of others, especially anything hand-painted or hand-stitched! And I never pass up a bargain!

The sweet cottage blue and white vintage cloth was another recent find. The flowers are beautifully embroidered with the edges carefully crocheted. For $4, how could I resist it? I couldn't, of course! I'm always on the hunt for cottage treasures such as these. That's at least half the fun!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

#13: 1930's Quilt Block-"Free Trade"

The "Free Trade" quilt block was timely in the 1930's and it is definitely timely now! The Detroit Times published this pattern with this accompanying text:

"Just as a new deal is needed now, our Colonial ancestors were in need of a new deal, so this Free Trade quilt block was very popular and is again reviving its popularity. You will find this a very delightful all-over pattern which works up easily and makes a beautiful quilt when finished."
(Does history constantly repeat itself? It surely seems so!)

Remembering on a Quiet Sunday Morning

I love using garden accessories in our cottage home. White Rabbit certainly never actually lived in a garden though he was intended for that purpose. When not out hopping through the forest, he sits & smells the flowers and enjoys the sunset photo. 

The photo is of the lake on which our family cottage was built back in the 1940's. My father chose the building site from all the others available because he knew that each and every evening in future we would be able to sit and watch the sun set over the water far across the lake. 

Hagerman Lake in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan has been the vacation spot for family members far and wide for decades. Children, young and old, come to enjoy the peace and serenity of this forest home. They rise at dawn, swim and play through the day, and quietly count their blessings as evening speaks in rose-hued tones across the darkening sky, confirming the promise of another rich and beautiful day.

I wish you all a joyous Sunday!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

#12: 1930's Quilt Block-"The Spider Web Quilt"

The Detroit Times published this Spider Web Quilt block pattern in the 1930's. The accompanying text read:

"An early picture of the little room Martha Washington occupied after the death of General Washington possesses the "Spider Web" quilt upon her bed. It was here that she spent her last days gazing out upon the broad Potomac and you, too, will delight in reproducing this beautiful quilt with this historic significance. This is a patchwork pattern that is simple and easy to make."
Are you familiar with this quilt block? Perhaps it is easier to make than what it appear? What do you think?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Vintage Cottage Pie Recipes

Thanks for writing in Anita! Here are the old-fashioned pie recipes you were hoping to find! I found them in the vintage recipe box I bought at an antique mall not long ago. There are lots more recipes in that little treasure box. Can't wait to have time to sort them out! And I promise to share them!

Aren't these old recipes fun! I also collect old cookbooks so will, from time to time, get some of those written out to share. And I have quite a few recipes left by my mother in her own handwriting. Now those are the real treasures.

(I don't think I've ever heard of egg nog pie before. Has anyone else? I'm curious!)

#11: 1930's Quilt Block-"The Coronation Quilt"

This Coronation Quilt pattern was published in the 1930's by the Detroit Times. The accompanying text read:

"The customs of medieval days show that diamond shaped patches were used as a decorative trimming. The Coronation quilt design goes back to the days of Sir Walter Raleigh and the gallant knights of old.

The blocks are set together on the bias, using 6 wide and 7 long, with a plain block of the same size for joining them." Do you know another name for this block?

Pretty Hand-painted Paper Parasol

We're having a heat wave here today. We're all the way up to minus 8 from minus 15 earlier today. Baby, it's COLD outside! But inside, I'm thinking of springtime flowers, leaves, and butterflies. This beautiful hand-painted paper parasol always makes the day a little brighter and, if I try really hard, WARMER!

This lovely piece was found in a tiny treasure-filled shop in South Haven, MI last spring. Jim and I love to take a day and drive over to this beautiful harbor town on Lake Michigan. We watch the boats, shop the unique antique shops, load up on scrumptious baked goods from the local bakery (yum!) and spend several hours in our favorite second-hand bookstore, The Hidden Room. It's just a three-hour drive for us so we leave early in the morning and return home in the early evening after stopping for a nice dinner somewhere along the way back.

I feel warmer just thinking about it!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

#10: 1930's Quilt Block-"Oriental Splendor"

Published in 1933 by the Lansing State Journal, here is the text of the article along with the Oriental Splendor quilt block pattern:

"The Stars of the Heavens, and the Pyramids of the Desert, are combined in making this attractive quilt. Many color combinations are practical. Two shades of any of the following colors: rose, blue, green, pink, orchid, peach or yellow, or any one of the colors combined with a white or unbleached muslin, gives you a lovely quilt. The blocks are hexagon shaped and measure 15 inches."Are you familiar with this quilt block?

Snow White and the White Rabbit

Once upon a time there was a small white rabbit who lived under a cottage in the woods. The cottage was the home of seven small elves who were very busy and seemed to be working all the time. Often Rabbit could hear them singing and pounding away but he stayed clear of them. Who knew how elves might feel about a pretty little white rabbit out in the wilds! Rabbit wasn't taking any chances!

One day, while Rabbit was hopping home from his day in the forest to his hole under the cottage, he heard a different voice. Singing! It was a sweet, lilting voice that made his long ears stand right up straight! Who was it! 

As he crept closer to the elves' cottage, peering carefully around each branch and bush, he saw that the cottage door was open. And there, right there in the doorway, stood the most beautiful young girl he had ever seen, sweeping and singing an angelic song. 

"Oh! What a pretty rabbit!" she exclaimed, startling poor Rabbit out of his wits! "Come here, dear, I won't hurt you!" Rabbit wasn't sure he should, but he moved closer to the girl. 

"My name is Snow White," she said, standing her broom up against the cottage door. "I've been hoping for company with the elves away all day. Would you like to go for a walk? We can go adventuring together." 

Rabbit's ears wiggled back and forth making Snow White giggle. "I guess that means, yes," she laughed.

So off they went, Snow White leading the way and Rabbit hopping along like an old friend. Together they found a peaceful place to stop and smell the flowers, listen to the birds, and watch the butterflies flitting about. 

"I don't know when I've had such a nice time," Snow White exclaimed. And Rabbit's ears just started wiggling and wiggling, he was so happy to have a new friend.

The End

(The hand-painted Snow White figurine was a $4 local thrift store find not long ago. In her previous life, she lived in a garden. I find that garden items make great cottage home accessories! Don't you?) 

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

#9: 1930's Quilt Block-"Double Wedding Ring"

The Double Wedding Ring quilt block pattern was published by the Lansing State Journal in the 1930's along with this text:

"Day by day the beauty of Colonial America is making its way into the modern home, and nothing is more eagerly pursured today than the antique quilts—the bright colored bed coverings that were the pride of our grandmothers. The modern woman is enjoying the thrill of creating these same beautiful patterns with her own hands.
We have had so many requests for quilt patterns that we have completed a new book of Colonial quilts, showing both new and old quilt designs in patchwork, embroidery and applique patterns, also quilting designs for every type of quilting. All of the illustrations are in color.

The quilt shown [below] is one of the oldest patterns that has been handed down, and is very beautiful when finished."Do you own or have you made a Double Wedding Ring quilt?

Up Against a Brick Wall!

A brick wall, or in this case a fireplace, is perfect for showing off your cottage collectibles. Seems like almost anything looks interesting, unique, and charming with a brick background. I especially like the bright colors on this antique pillow against the red bricks.

The kittens in a basket hand-hooked pillow is one of my all-time favorite finds. I've had it around for a long time and enjoy it every single day. I almost didn't buy it because it has a missing strand of yarn on the basket but I'm so glad I did! Buying something imperfect and then enjoying it so much afterward has made me realize that sometimes the nicks and chips of life are not so much detracting but rather enhancing in a cottage collectible. (Maybe it's the same with people! What do you think?)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

#8: 1930's Quilt Block-"The Dutch Rose"

This Dutch Rose pattern was published in 1933 by the Lansing State Journal and the text of of this article read:

"Here's an old favorite, the Dutch Rose, or it is sometimes called the Dutch Windmill. In the early days it was known as "Hearts and Gizzards." It has been a fascinating pattern and lends itself to rather vivid colorings. The size is 18 inches. It can be made up in white and your favorite solid color or a combination of prints and solid colors combined with white. This quaint quilt has maintained its popularity throughout generations of needleworkers and you will find it just as popular today as it was in the days of our Colonial forefathers."Are you familiar with this pattern? Have you heard it called any of these names: the Dutch Rose, the Dutch Windmill, or Hearts and Gizzards?

Cottage White Frosting Recipe

Here comes the first of many recipes from a 1950's Recipe Box I recently found at the Jackson Antique Mall in Jackson, MI. I love these vintage recipes and thought it would be fun to share them with you.

I'm starting with a White Frosting Recipe as it seems like the perfect cottage treat with, of course, cake! I'm sure there must be a cake recipe in that amazing little box, too! There's quite a variety of recipes, though I haven't had a chance to look at every one of them yet. Anyway, have fun and watch for more vintage recipes to come!

Good Morning, Mr Bunny Rabbit!

I found this adorable wooden bunny rabbit in a wonderful Cottage Antique and Collectible shop in McHenry, IL a few years ago. (Because he's so cute, you'll probably be seeing him again in later posts!) The 1940's swan was a thrifty find from Michigan City, MI and, of course, they just have to "speak" to each other. The beautifully crafted barkcloth pillow was also discovered in McHenry.

The photo is of a tiny corner of a former clothes closet that I have turned into a cottage fun spot for storing some of my scrapbooks, photo albums and fabrics as well as showcasing some of the vintage finds I enjoy seeing every day. 

I had the door of the closet removed and the interior painted pumpkin, the same color as the adjoining bedroom. It's a small closet but provides a lot of useful space whereas it formerly held only a few off-season coats and jackets so was really not of much use...well, not of much use for a creative cottage lover anyway! I'll be showing you more of my closet storage ideas and vintage finds in later stay tuned!

Hand-painted Treasures = Cottage Charm

I found this lovely little hand-painted glass holder at a local thrift shop last weekend and paid a whole $1 for it. But I almost didn't buy it because sometimes it hard to see what an item really looks like when it's surrounded by items are lesser quality. Still, I never pass up a hand-painted item if I can help it. And, I'm really glad I didn't pass this one up either as it will be a handy little holder for pens, pencils, or watercolors pens as shown. 

I think it's the down-home charm of knowing that an artistic crafter somewhere, sometime, dipped brush into paint and created a cottage scene, floral bouquet, or colorful collage. There's nothing I like better than hand-painted treasures to fulfill my vision of cottage decorating.