Sunday, June 28, 2009

Some Fun Facts About Vintage Feedsack History!

One of my favorite hobbies is collecting vintage fabric, especially feedsacks, for my quilting and crafting projects. The colors and designs of this cotton cloth are charming, unique and speak of another era in times when life was simpler and the charms of ordinary days were plenty.
Especially popular in the 30’s, 40’s & 50’s, original feedsacks are becoming harder to find these days, so I often buy halves, quarters, or even scraps to make up my quilts. The cloth is so precious that nothing goes to waste. I cut the pieces which remain from my projects into squares which I share with others! When I'm fortunate enough to find a full sack, I usually add it to my collection but do not cut into it. I prefer to stay green and use the smaller pieces as was done is the days of long ago!

Originally feed for farm animals was sold in large barrels but, when that changed to colorful cotton sacks, farm wives began salvaging the sacks for their sewing projects. When feedsack and flour sack manufacturers became aware that women were cutting up the sacks and using the floral designs to make everything from aprons, clothing for their children, and quilts to pillowcases and kitchen dish towels, they held contests for the most beautiful and unusual designs.

Often these designs were so favored that women stored them away for a “rainy day” when they would have time to sew them into special quilts and other keepsakes. However, as time passed, these treasured fabrics often stayed unused in dresser drawers or old trunks. Today, these same fabric feedsacks can sometimes be found at estate sales, flea markets and antique shops. Here are a few examples of beautiful feedsack designs:A Brief History:
The wooden barrels used for grain and feed were not the best because they had the potential to leak and were also bulky, heavy, and hard to transport. Manufacturers were anxious to find another method but considered the cloth bags used by the farmer as "junk cloth" because the hand sewn seams could not hold up in heavy use. This changed in 1846 with the invention of the stitching machine, which made it possible to sew double locking seams strong enough to hold the contents of a bag.”

Feedsacks were initially made of heavy canvas, and were used to obtain flour, sugar, meal, grain, salt and feed from the mills. They were reusable, with the farmer bringing an empty sack stamped with his mark or brand to the mill to be filled. This changed when the North East mills began weaving inexpensive cotton fabric in the late 1800's. Feedsacks (or feedbags) were initially printed on plain white cloth and in sizes that corresponded to barrel sizes. For example, a one-barrel bag held 196 pounds of flour. A 1/8 barrel bag only held 24 pounds. The brand name of the flour was simply printed on the side of the bag.

After WWII, technological innovations provided more sanitary and effective packaging made of heavy paper and plastic containers. It was cost effective, too, writes Driessen. “A cotton bag cost 32 cents to make, as opposed to 10 cents for the paper bag. By 1948 this new industry cornered more than half of the bag market and the cloth bag fell out of use. But not entirely! Some Amish and Mennonite communities demand, and receive, their goods in feedsacks.”

Reference: Driessen, Kris. Quilt History.

Friday, June 26, 2009


To celebrate the opening, I'm having a GIVEAWAY!

The WINNER will receive the YELLOW FEEDSACK LOT of
25 ALL DIFFERENT 5"x5" squares pictured below.

To enter:
Visit the new shop by clicking HERE.

Choose the COLOR of Vintage Feedsack Lot you like best & note it in a comment on this post!

The WINNER will be selected by a random draw on July 15, 2009!


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Vintage Cottage Etsy Shop - Now Open!

I've been collecting original vintage feedsacks for years and have accumulated quite a few as you can see from the photo. And this is just a portion of the entire collection. Yesterday I was able to finally open my etsy shop with feedsack lots of 25 squares each - all original - each square a different pattern! These 5" squares are perfect for quilting, crafting, and altered art projects.

You can find them here. Please take a look and tell me what you think!

(I'll be adding many more today and in the days that follow...but this is a start!)

Feedsack Lots: New ETSY Listings!

I've been collecting original vintage feedsacks for years and have accumulated quite a few as you can see from the photo. And this is just a portion of the entire collection. Yesterday I was able to finally open my etsy shop with feedsack lots of 25 squares each - all original - each square a different pattern! These 5" squares are perfect for quilting, crafting, and altered art projects.

You can find them here. Please take a look and tell me what you think!

(I'll be adding many more today and in the days that follow...but this is a start!)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Oh So Pretty! Country Maiden!

I was out of commission for most of the day today as I had to go in to get the stitches removed from a periodontal surgery I had two weeks ago. I was out of here early and promised myself I'd do something fun if all went well!

Need I tell you that all went well and, as promised, I took myself on an adventure to our local Treasure Market where I found this amazing English pitcher? As you can see it fits right into my white cottage cabinet!

Vintage School Book - Nature!

So many gorgeous illustrations in this elementary school science book, "All Around Us" published by Scott, Foresman, and Company - 1944!

Of course, being partial to all the furry creatures of the world, I just had to buy this at our favorite antique mall which we attended on Fathers Day. Oh what fun!

More illustrations to follow as I find time to scan them in! Hope you enjoy them!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Raising The Big Top!

Here are a few photos of the raising of the Big Top from the 1970's 100th Anniversary Ringling Brothers Circus Book I found at an antique mall. They bring to mind the book, Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen. Have you read it? A fascinating novel and look at circus life in the early 1900's. Not always a pretty picture, for sure, but certainly an interesting read about a part of our country's history not often written about.

Hand-painted Glass Perfume Bottle!

You've seen this little white rabbit before, of course. And the photo may also be familiar as it is from a sunset at our Hagerman Lake Cottage that my father built back in the 1940's. But this little hand-painted perfume is "new" and one of my all-time favorite thrifty finds. 

I found this sweet cottage piece in a flea market shop in Chesterton, Indiana several years ago. When the sunlight shines through it, you can almost see those lovely little fish swimming about. I just love to look at it during the day as I go about my cottage adventures. So peaceful and lovely!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Hey Dad, I Miss You!

The years go on, Dad, but I miss you still. Happy Fathers Day!

(My wonderful father: John Anthony Cederna - March 28, 1909 - June 3, 1980)

Happy Fathers Day Everyone!

Son Paul sent this adorable photo today of his sweet labs Oakley and Hunter. "Garden Lilies" is what he's calling them today as they sit here wishing everyone a very happy fathers day!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Lady in Pink - Scrapbook Renovation

Here are just two of the many cards I'm currently removing (to preserve them!) from the old 1930's scrapbook I found at an antique mall recently. I just love these old cards. They are so beautiful and interesting and fun to work with. Some even have old black and white photos inside!

Still, they are hard to remove from the larger book. I don't know what glue or paste she used but it was there to last longer than a lifetime. Yesterday, I posted pictures of the project in progress. And Christine suggested the use of dental floss. (Thanks, Christine!) I've still yet to try this.

In most cases, I've been cutting the card with the page backing attached. And this was working out well until I discovered some pages with cards attached to both sides. Not sure what to do with these.

But I'm having fun and I love working on it but it's definitely a challenge!

Friday, June 19, 2009

1930's Scrapbook Renovation!

This is what I'm working on right now. As you can see I'm in the middle of my project to protect and save these amazing 1930's cards and mementos from further damage.

We were shopping one of our favorite antique malls recently when my husband brought this beautiful old scrapbook to my attention. "I think you're going to love this," he said. So we bargained and got the price down to an acceptable (not such a thrifty find after all but still awesome) and brought it home.

But I discovered that many of the cards were damaged from minor water spills and bending from people flipping through the book. The book is heavy (with treasures) so it weighs down on the little cards of long ago.

So I am taking it apart so the cards can be saved. It's really a challenge but I'm loving every minute of it.

Summer Vacation Dreaming!

I'm Bonnie Lass and I'd like to go on vacation with my Mom and Dad. My sister Carrie and I have been missing our sister Ginger who passed on to the Rainbow Bridge in May. I'm trying to talk my parents into taking a little trip but I don't know if it will happen or not because my dad is still recovering from open-heart surgery. He goes to cardiac rehab three times a week now and soon will be able to return to work. Anyway, I'm working on it.
Hi, I'm Carrie and I know just what Bonnie is talking about. I'm having a very hard time getting to sleep at night since my sister went to the Rainbow Bridge. I keep barking for her to come back. I've been keeping everyone awake until I finally fall asleep. I'm very sorry about that but I can't help it. My mom and dad understand so that helps. Still a little vacation away might be just what we all need.
Yes, we're all dreaming of a little vacation away but it's probably not going to happen this summer. Here's a photo of us last summer having fun on the water. Maybe, just maybe, we can plan something small. It would be fun to take the fur kids on a little outing!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tigers, Clowns, and The Flying Wallendas!

Here are a few more pictures from the 1970's 100th Anniversary Circus Book I found in an antique mall a while ago. I think most of us remember attending a circus or two when we were growing up. I was fascinated with everything going on in the three-ring event we attended, trying to see all the different acts at once.

But when The Flying Wallendas did their dangerous death-defying high-wire act, all eyes—including mine—were on the them and nothing else. We held our breath as they made their precarious way across the big top—with no net to catch them if they fell. When the act was over everyone breathed a sign of relief.

(Two weeks after we saw them in their act, they fell in another city in another performance. Unfortunately, they could no longer call their act death-defying. It was a sad time for many in the circus and those of us around the world. Still they live on in my memory of my visit to the 3-ring circus.)

The Woodpecker Rote Song!

Several times a week, we had music hour in our elementary school when I was growing up. I loved everything about this time spent away from reading, writing, and arthmetic. 

It wasn't that I didn't like those subjects, too, it was just that when in music class, I could fly away to wherever the song took me. I could go anywhere, be anything I wanted to be, dreaming away the hour, enchanted with the sweet sounds of my classmates' and my voices raised in song. 

To this day, whenever I see and hear a woodpecker tap, tippy, tap tapping, I think of music class and this wonderful little song! 

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Greatest Show on Earth!

Excerpt: "There are a lot of old-time Circus folk who'll tell you that Lilian Leitzel was the greatest Circus star of all-time. She headlined many years with THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH before falling to her death in Copenhagen in 1931."I couldn't believe my eyes when I discovered this 1970 100th Anniversary Souvenir book of THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH at an antique mall in Wisconsin. We were on our way home from visiting family in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan—where I grew up and where I also attended the circus as a child—and decided to stop and look for thrifty finds.I actually had no intention of looking for a big top collector's item such as this but the book practically grabbed me by the sleeve and said, "Take me home; you'll find a lot of old circus history here!" I had no choice but to buy it for a whopping $6.

I'll have to scan more of these pictures as there are many from the 1800's as well as the early 1900's with historical accounts of circus news around the world. Many of the famous performers from long ago are spotlighted in interviews and photos. But for now, I hope you'll enjoy this slice of circus life as it was!

A Picture's Worth A Thousand Words!

It's true that a picture is worth a thousand words but oh how I wish for two thousand on this one. I'd like to know the answers to so many questions like where did she and her pony live, in the America, Europe or somewhere else? This picture does remind me of some of the pictures of Gloria Vanderbilt in her childhood days. 

Since I don't know the little girl's name, I think I'll call her Little Nell. But what should we name the pony? Suggestions? 

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

1940's Children's Jumper & Jacket Pattern!

My mother made me a jumper, similar to this, that I simply adored! There was something about having plaids and straps that was just wonderful for a little girl. My plaid was a yellow, green, red mix and I loved it. Do you remember a special dress or jumper from your growing up days? I'll bet you can name the colors right off the top of your head!

Oh How I Loved To Go Up In My Swing!

When I was a little girl, I begged my father to build me a swing. In fact, I stalked him constantly from the moment he got home from work until bedtime. Weekends, I followed him everywhere, reminding him that I really needed a swing.

Well, you can probably guess, that my tenaciousness paid off. Dad put in a heavy duty steel arch in the backyard and attached thick chains to it and to the wooden seat. It was a glorious affair!

On the first evening of its use, the whole neighborhood came to see how it worked. I flew higher than the crowd and could see them below watching, astonished with my daring as I reached for the stars. 

It was a heavenly evening and I'm pretty sure my father knew he had made me very happy but I wonder if he knew that I would carry that wonderful evening in my heart for the rest of my life. Maybe he did...he was pretty wonderful!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Blue Vintage Transfer Patterns!

These are the kind of transfer patterns used to create those gorgeous embroidered pillow cases, dresser scarves, and runners one so often finds at flea markets and antique malls. I just love the look of these! Stunning stitchery! And even the pattern transfers are lovely!