Friday, January 29, 2010

Spools, spools, spools

I can't show you all anything that I've been up to! Why you ask?   I have 2 February Birthdays that I'm working on - both birthday gals read my blog so I can't ruin the surprises.  Plus I've been working on my Trashy Swap goodies and I don't want to let my partner know what I'm up to so she has a surprise when her package arrives!  Thought I'd share one of my collections today. 
This is an inherited collection of spools from both of my grandmothers.  I just love to look at these old wooden spools and read the labels and prices!  If thread were that inexpensive today it would be great. 
I have some tucked into this little round basket in a corner cupboard
and a few in this Mason jar in the corner of the downstairs bathroom
Think of all the stitching that was done with these yards and yards of thread! 

My favorite spools are the ones like this one
If you look carefully you will see my maternal grandmother's initials on this one EGL.  My mother was an only daughter, but my grandmother labeled all "her" spools so my mother wouldn't walk off with any!  My Grandmother was quite the unique person!  She taught school - Latin, loved to read Shakespeare and to do crossword puzzles.  She was a farmer's wife and had all the responsibilities that came along with that position in the early 1900's.    Of course she left teaching for a number of years while raising her family of 3 children, my Mom being the youngest. 
My Mom recalls after being married and setting up her own house, that when my Grandmother would visit, she always counted my Mother's silver!  (I can't imagine my Mother being that nosey in my house - she's never counted my silver, all she cares about is whether I take care of it, which I do.)  I can't believe that my Mother didn't hide a few pieces to see what my Grandmother would say.  Mom said it never occurred to her to do that. 

Have a wonderful weekend.  We have basketball tonight and  tomorrow morning at 8 and 10.  Then on Sunday night our oldest DS starts indoor baseball in Ft. Wayne.  We've never played indoor baseball before so this should be fun.  ~Ann

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Happy Anniversary to Us!

Twenty one years ago today (January 21, 1989) my DH and I got married.  Happy Anniversary to Us.  I can't believe that it's been that long, it sure doesn't seem that long as I can't be more than 32! 

DH looks so young in our wedding photos.  He was young, we both were - I was a senior in college and he had graduated from the same college the previous year.  My parents just couldn't understand my "rush" to get married.  Mind you my mother was only 22 when she got married - the same age I was, although she had graduated from college already.  My Dad was older, he was 28 and a veteran of WWII going to college on the GI bill. 

How times and styles change - would I pick everything today as I did then?  Doubtful, but a marriage is not about the wedding it's about the marriage that comes after the wedding.   I loved my dress then and still do, it was a straight dress with a detachable train.  After the wedding I removed the train so I didn't have to deal with the bustle at the reception.  

My cake topper and unity candle.  Unity candles were all the rage in the 80's when we got married.  I know lots of people still use them, but EVERYONE that got married in the '80's had one.  Ours had our wedding invitation on it embellished with sparklies and pearls.  I had dreams of displaying my cake topper in my home to commemorate the day. Where is it now - in the hat box with my veil on the top shelf in my closet!  Can't say that it really mixes in with the primitive decor that I so love. 

Have a wonderful weekend - ours will be filled with basketball.  ~Ann

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Let's Save some $$$$$

Have you noticed my new box on the right hand side of  my blog?  I've called it  "How much can I save?"  I'm keeping track of what I save in 2010 with coupons and comparison shopping.  Let me show you what I'm doing.

  In our small town here in NW Ohio we only have a Walmart and a local grocery store.  The local store is great for produce and meats, but too expensive for me to buy all my groceries at.  I'm left to shop at Walmart, unless I want to drive 1/2 hour in one direction to get to a Meijer or Kroger store or 20 minutes in another direction to get to another local store that has some great buys.  With our busy life I need to stay in town. 

 Did you know that Walmart honors competitor's advertised prices?  Each weekend I scan the sale ads for items that I need, search through my coupons and make a list.  I'm always armed with 3 fliers from competitor's and hit Walmart. 

Here is an example from my last shopping trip -

The Walmart price on a 6 pack of Danimals yogurt was $2.58.  Kroger had them advertised for $1.88, just show the clerk at Walmart the flier and they will charge you the $1.88 price.  On top of the price adjustment I had a coupon for $1.00 off so I got this item for $.88 cents!  This is an item that I do buy when it's on sale, but wouldn't purchase it at regular price.  My kids like these and at 88 cents I'm happy to purchase them. 

To figure my savings, I added the comparison price savings of 70 cents to my total savings and the $1.00 coupon to the coupon savings.  Since I purchased 2 of these, I just doubled my savings as I had 2 coupons.

Just a note about Walmart shopping - I'm sure there are some of my readers that wouldn't shop at Walmart, I dont' mean to offend you, it's just that my budget requires me to find the best possible prices on items that we buy.  With a family of 5 and 2 of those being hungry boys I need to stretch my grocery money as far as I can and Walmart allows me to do that. I do not work at Walmart and I am not advertising for them, just letting you know what they offer.   

I'd love for you to join me in my savings journey this year.  Feel free to post on your blog too and let me know what you are saving or ways to save more money. I am really surprised by how much I've saved and we're only half way through January.   ~Ann

Monday, January 18, 2010

I'm Feeling Blue!

Char at the Pickled Pepper Patch does a Monday post about the Monday Blues.  Today one of the items she highlights is her love of crocks.  I too love crocks, my favorite are the ones decorated with blue designs. I thought I'd share a few of my favorite from around my home. 

 This first one is one of my most prized possessions.  It was made in my hometown of Sherburne New York by Hart Brothers Pottery.  I do not have the lid for this, but I do believe that it was a churn.  When my parents gave it to me I was ecstatic!   For all of my growing up years it sat out in the garage on a shelf overhead.  Now you need to understand that our garage was really the old horse barn, 2 1/2 stories tall and big enough for a tractor, a car or 2 and my Dad's woodworking shop.   

I remember this crock sitting at a very precarious angle on that shelf, I'm really surprised that it didn't fall off and break.  I can imagine how it ended up on the shelf, I'm sure my Grandmother didn't want a butter churn sitting in her house once she began using a glass table top churn.  I'm sure that lots of items where discarded that we would all drool over.  As new "technology" was developed our ancestors said "out with old and in with the new".  Thank goodness I come from a long line of packrats!   

 My family knows to steer clear from this crock - I'm not sure I could find a replacement and I KNOW I couldn't afford one!  Whenever my friend Melissa - Farm Field Primitives is over I have to make sure that the crock is still sitting in my home and hasn't found it's way out into her vehicle! 

This next crock is just a crock, another one that my parents gave me from the garage!  The kids love to hid things in this one when Mom says "clean up"! 

A new item in my collection.  My college roommate knows of my love of blue crockery and gave me this bowl and pitcher set several years ago. 

A little of my past and my present.  The crock on the left was given to me by my parents - no this one didn't come from the garage, it's new!  It has my hometown imprinted in it - Sherburne NY.  The crock on the right is in celebration of Ohio's bicentennial in 2003. 

This next crock I found at a church rummage sale.  It's a little beat up but that's what I like about it. 

I hope you've enjoyed a peek into my collection of blue pottery.  Have a wonderful Blue Monday.  ~Ann

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Good Reading

Do you subscribe to Early American Life magazine? If not I strongly encourage you to purchase this month's edition - February 2010. I feel that it's one of the best ones published recently. I will warn you that there is only one early home featured, along with a condo decorated in the early American style we all love so much. It's the articles in this one that make it super special. The first article that I had to read was "Early Burl Treen" a very interesting article about treen. I did not know that Native Americans treasured the burl and used it extensively.

There is an article about Dolley Madison entitled "Turbans and Politics" again very interesting reading. There will be a PBS special on Dolley on March 1st, I'll be sure to tune in to that program.  Dolley was known for her Turban head coverings, she was quite the fashion plate. 

The last article in this issue is "America's Sampler Legacy" this is a must read if you are a stitcher! The photo below is included in this article, stitched by Loara Standish c. 1640 it is the oldest known American sampler with the maker's name.

The sampler is housed in Pilgrim Hall, Plymouth Massachusetts. It was exciting to see this sampler, as my mother's family is descended from several of the Mayflower families, including the Standish's. My love of stitching and all things prim must be genetic! I've checked into purchasing a kit for a reproduction but I'll have to enjoy looking at the photos ~ the kits are a little to pricey for this stitcher!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. I'm looking forward to the 3 day weekend. ~Ann

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Candle Tutorial

I had a few questions after my last post on how to make blackened beeswax candles. In this post I will show you MY version of this process. I'm not saying this is the right way or the only way to do this, just the way that I figured out how to do it. The best part is you can use any old beat up candle for the base. I purchase my beat up candles at garage sales. If they are colored it is fine, as the beeswax will black. The first thing that I do is take them out to the garage and fit the drill press with a circular drill bit. Just make sure that the bit is a little larger than your battery operated tea light that you will be dropping into the hole. You will coat the inside of the hole with blackened beeswax too, so the hole needs to be too big to start with. Char has done this same thing with a drill rather than a drill press. DH has a drill press and I find that it is easier for me so this is how I do it. Find the center of the candle - just eyeball it and start up the drill press.

I do set the depth prior to starting up the press so that the bit stops slightly under the rim of the candle.

Here's the drilled out candle.

Next step, back into the house. Use your favorite method of melting wax. I have an old electric skillet that I pour water into - I'm really just making a double boiler by placing an old tin can in the middle that will hold my wax. I use beeswax that I buy locally and add old broken crayons to it. Dig through all your kids' old crayons and find all the black ones. I'm sure that candle purists would say that this is NOT the thing to use for the color. Well, I'm not a purist I'm a primitive lover and we make do with what we have! The problem with mixing beeswax and crayons is that they have two different melting points. The beeswax will melt first and the crayons will still be sitting in the bottom of the can. Just give it some time and eventually they will melt. Just keep an eye an your water level and add water as needed. Don't let your water get much above a simmer.

I roll the candles in the beeswax. I found this works the best - take an aluminum pie pan - the disposable kind and pour the melted wax/crayon mixture into this. Make sure to stir up the wax and crayons prior to pouring out! Don't pour too much, 1/4" is fine.

Next, just roll each candle slowly in the wax. I usually go around a couple of times. Just get a good thick coat on each candle.

Don't forget to cover the indentation you made with the drill press.

The nice thing about the pie plate is that you can scrape the hardened wax back into the melting pot with a plastic spoon. Keep repeating this process until you have all your candles covered. Drop in a battery operated tea light that you've painted to match and grunge everything up good with a coat of cinnamon.

Here's a finished candle...

Hope this inspires you to create a blackened beeswax candle. ~Ann

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I got lost in the Holiday!

I am so sorry that I was gone for SO long. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. Whew our holidays were very busy here at my house. My Mom came to spend the holiday with us, since my Dad died 11 years ago she's spent all but 2 Christmases with us. We were all happy to see Mamie.

I do have a few pictures to share with you of projects I've been working on... I used the pattern from Bird in the Hand Primitives blogspot to create these candle wraps for the 3 teachers I work with. I just love to blanket stitch!

I used a mixed media to create this Valentines candle, the charms down the right side spell "TRUE" and the black ribbon on the top left says "LOVE". This is a candle that I used blackened beeswax on and rubbed with spices. I proceeded to wrap with cheesecloth and added an antique photo, rusty safety pin and antique buttons.

I couldn't believe that I found this primitive stitchery at a local antique mall for $2.25. I dug the frame out of my stash for a perfect fit. The stitching is great, it's very uneven and childlike. I believe that it was a transfer pattern that was ironed onto this linen and then the stitcher just covered the "x" with floss.

Lastly, I found this chart at Blackbird Designs One stitch at a time blogspot. I couldn't show it to you earlier as it was a Christmas present for our DD. This year when she entered high school she decided on French as her foreign in language. We had to laugh at her rationalization for this choice - she knew that Spanish would make her more marketable in the future, but she WANTED to take French. Kids really don't have much choice in what they can take if a four year college is in their future: 4 years of Math, Science, English, Social Studies and a foreign language. Their roads are pretty much mapped out for them upon entering high school. We agreed with her that Spanish was the more logical choice, but encouraged her to take something that she wanted to take, hence the French.

She just loves anything relating the the Eiffel Tower and Paris. The browns complement her bedroom and it was a fun surprise to make for her. Happy New Year! ~Ann