Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Mrs. O'Leary's Cow?

It's Shameless Commerce Tuesday and today I'm showcasing a truly unique commemorative metal tray that I've added to my sadly neglected vintage shop, Aunt Pheba's Vintage.

This little piece, which measures approximately 8 inches x 5.75 inches x 1/2 inch, was a souvenir from the American Medical Association Convention held in Chicago in 1948.  It was swag distributed by Sharp & Dohme, a pharmaceuticals manufacturer which began as an apothecary in 1851 and had just opened a large scale manufacturing plant in West Port, Pennsylvania in 1948.  Five years later, that company was acquired by Merck, a spin off of the German Merck KGaA.

I am guessing that Sharp & Dohme chose the Pennsylvania Dutch (Deutsch) motif to celebrate the opening of their new plant in Pennsylvania.  I love the whimsical motif and the use of color.

But what I find most interesting is the design itself.  The AMA Convention was being held in Chicago, Illinois. And one of the most prominent yet tragic pieces of Chicago history is the Great Chicago Fire of October 8, 1871, which destroyed a large section of the city and killed over 300 people.  According to legend, since discredited, the fire started when a cow owned by Patrick and Catherine (Cate) O'Leary kicked over a lantern in their barn.

I think this could make a unique gift for a med school or pharmacy school graduate -- especially one with ties to Chicago.   Or perhaps it could be a Father's Day gift for a doctor or pharmacist -- or a Chicago history buff.


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Treasury Thanks

It was another great week for Etsy treasuries!  THANK YOU to all the curators who featured items from my Etsy shop, Pasque Flower Creations, in treasuries during the past week.

Sharla of Beaded Tail featured my pink floral oven mitt in her treasury, Spring Flowers, Kitties, and a Mouse!  In keeping with that kitty theme, I'm sharing this Eat-Play-Love journal (and a cute picture of Angel) from Sharla's shop.  A percentage of all her Etsy shop sales support animal charities.

Miss Cherry of Cherry Garden Dolls (Australia) featured my aqua and tan oven mitts in her treasury, Cool May. Miss Cherry makes truly unique handmade dolls, like this beautiful babushka rag doll:

Dorota Das of SilverThreadShop (UK) featured my poppies on teal oven mitts in her treasury, Poppy Love.  This floral cotton yoga mat bag would be a great gift.

Janell of DancingMooney featured my green chevron bunting in her treasury, Summer Wedding Inspiration. Mint & Teal.  This eucalyptus shea butter soap from Janell's shop is almost too pretty to use.

Edi Royer of memoriesforlifesb featured my yellow chevron baby bib in her sunny, happy treasury, Sunshine & Lemonade.  Edi has SO many unique gift ideas in her shop!  These cute little engraved wood magnets are only $7.00.  Such a deal -- and a great teacher gift idea.

Bonnie Sernesky of BonniesSewCrazy featured my green chevron bib in her hopeful treasury, After the Rain.  It's been cloudy with intermittent rain so far this Memorial Day weekend, but, to borrow a line from the musical, Annie, "The sun will come out tomorrow.  Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there'll be sun."
So--when that sunny day arrives, this pretty sun hat might be just the thing to keep your cute little nose from being sunburned.

Natashalh of StalkingTheWildSnark featured my rainbow chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Make New Friends.  Natasha has been adding LOTS of new items to her Etsy shop.  Here is one of my favorites -- a pretty pink wrist wrap.

Gaye Halseth of FrayedandTwisted (tag line:  Embellish Everything) featured my bright floral oven mitt in her treasury, Get Cookin'.  This vintage embroidered linen handkerchief lavender sachet would be a lovely gift.

Miss Cherry of CherryGardenDolls featured my pink chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Rose Topaze.  This plush doll -- a bathing beauty with thighs as big as mine -- made me chuckle!

Heidi of RowHouse14 featured my grunge pillow cover ( a perfect gift for a child of the 80s or a grad heading off to college) in her treasury, Summer Patterns and Hues.  This Father's Day card made me grin!

Ana from ADesignJewelry featured my green chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Sage Collection.  This autumn jasper woven necklace is one of the beautiful and unique items you'll find in Ana's shop:

Natasha of YarnyWishes featured my aqua chevron oven mitt in her light and breezy treasury, White Collection.  I've been invited to a number of baby showers recently -- there's something of a baby boom at the UNL Law College.  This beautiful crocheted nursing necklace would be pretty enough to wear as jewelry, and a wonderful gift for a new mom.

Janell of DancingMooney featured my black and white chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Not Just Black and White.  There's no hint of black or white in this beautiful four bar gift set of pastel shea butter soaps.

Miss Cherry of CherryGardenDolls featured my yellow chevron oven mitt in her fresh sunny treasury, My Finds.  I have a small collection of angels, so I just couldn't resist this pretty angel doll from Miss Cherry's shop.

SHS of Dushle featured my poppies on teal oven mitts in her bright and cheery treasury, Poppy Love on Etsy.   Isn't this just the CUTEST crocheted beach hat!

No need for a sun hat today -- cloudy with a chance of rain, and too wet to plant the garden even if the some comes out later today.  But it is great sewing weather.

Wishing everyone in the United States a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend.   Even if we cannot make it "home" to decorate the graves of loved ones who have gone before, or observe memorial services for fallen soldiers, I hope each of us takes a few minutes to be grateful for those who are no longer with us in this world, but who have had a deep and lasting impact in our lives.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Time to Dig in the Dirt

It's Shameless Commerce Tuesday, and today I am featuring a newly-listed garden apron.  We've gone three days without a frost warning, so I am hoping this weekend I'll be able to plant my little garden and dig in the dirt.

This apron has fully lined front pockets and a separate lined patch pocket -- just the right size for carrying a phone.

And I love the whimsical print with gardening tools and colorful boots in bright secondary colors - green, orange and purple - on a yellow checked background.   A great gift for a gardener -- or a cute vendor apron for a farmer's market.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Treasury Thanks

It was a wonderful week for treasuries!!  I want to take this opportunity to extend a big THANK YOU to the curators of Etsy treasuries who featured items from my Etsy shop, Pasque Flower Creations, in treasuries over the past week.

Barb of AerieImages featured my poppies on teal oven mitts in her treasury, Some Teals to Go with the Red. I just love this Boho Brights Art Print from AerieImages which gives old doilies a decidedly modern look!

Natashalh of StalkingTheWildSnark featured my green chevron oven mitts in her treasury, Wood You.  In keeping with the woody theme, I couldn't resist these wood grain cuff links:

Ayla of Eyelah featured my pastel floral oven mitts in her pretty treasury, Floral Pink.  Ayla has several new listings in her shop, including a line of petite pleated pouches.  I was attracted to this pretty purple one, of course!

Melanie and Bill of CraftCrazy4U featured my brown chevron oven mitt in their guy-themed treasury, Celebrating Grads and Dads.  Their shop offers many unique gift ideas, including this bullet cartridge pen.

Bonnie Sernesky of BonniesSewCrazy featured my silk prom clutch in her treasury, June Gift Guide.  This insulated water bottle carrier is a pretty and practical gift -- perfect for Summer outings.  We need to stay hydrated, you know!

Michelle of Craftslady2008 (her shop name is Sassy to Classy) featured my red, white and blue chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Christmas in July - Memorial Day.  I am not a jewelry maker, but if I were, I'd be snarfing up these gorgeous round polymer clay beads -- such a bargain!

NYLeatherRose featured my patriotic bunting in her treasury, The Best Gifts.  This pink long-stemmed leather rose is just one of the MANY beautiful leather floral items in her shop.

Elizabeth of RainbowBabyLand featured my aqua chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Aqua.  Our nephew and his wife are expecting a new baby (gender unknown) in December, and their wedding colors were black and white, so I just couldn't resist this ADORABLE baby boy body suit:

Isn't that just the cutest!!

Paige Ronchetti of TheRoomKit featured my pool party bunting in her bright and cheery treasury, Rainbow Brights.  Paige offers both pre-selected and custom room designs.  

I was DELIGHTED with the design she created for a dreary little office space at my day job.  You can see all the details in her blog post.  

Ayla Brown of Eyelah featured my man-sized blue oven mitts in her treasury, Blue Skies.  If you love treasuries, Ayla has founded a new Etsy Team, the Blogger Treasury Team.  Members commit to making one treasury per week.  Treasuries are a great (and affordable) way to get your items seen by new viewers.

Ayla makes wonderful sewn and knitted items, and she's also expanding her jewelry line.  These beautiful sapphire blue earrings would feel right at home in Ayla's beautiful treasury.

Abigail Jayne of AbigailJayneArt featured my peach paisley oven mitt in her treasury, Cantaloupe and Honeydew.  Mmmm.  I can almost taste the sweet, juicy melons!  This beautiful embellished pendant is one of the unique handcrafted accessories you'll find at AbigailJayneArt.

NYLeatherRose featured my red linen bow clutch in her treasury, Red Gifts.  My bow clutches are available in limited quantities (I'm licensed to make and sell 10 per year).  Here is a recent review from a happy buyer:
“Super well made, roomy inside, looks exactly like the picture (different lining). Quick shipping & seller is very friendly! Goes wonderfully with my prom dress :)”

This beautiful leather rose bracelet is another of the unique leather floral accessories you will find at NYLeather Rose.

I'll end on that beautiful note!  It is a sunny day, so I hope to head out for a hike with my new camera after church, before heading back to my sewing studio.  Only 13 more days until my next craft fair, and counting!

Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Little Splurges

Sometimes, even when the budget is a little tight, we need to reward ourselves every once in awhile with little splurges.  For me, this usually happens after tax season, when I receive a small bonus check at the end of a long winter -- holiday rush, tax season, juggling 2+ jobs and my Etsy shops, fighting endless winter weather.... I feel like I've earned a small reward just for slogging it out until Spring.

This year, I allowed myself one little splurge, and one not-so-little splurge.  First, the little splurge.

This delightful book, My Rag Doll, by Corinne Crasbercu was published by David and Charles.  You can find other craft projects and free projects at this website: www.stitchcraftcreate.co.uk.

I just couldn't resist the little freckle-faced redhead on the cover.  (My daughter had auburn hair and freckles.)  All of the dolls are adorable, and there are patterns for hats, boots, shoes, jackets, adorable dresses and pinafores, a little backpack -- and more!   The patterns need to be enlarged to 140% to make a full-sized doll, but I may make some un-enlarged ones for a smaller, toddler-friendly version.

My only complaint is that only one of the 11 dolls was non-Caucasian.  There is one adorable Oriental doll with a kimono, but no black or brown dolls.  That is easily fixed, of course, by using appropriate skin-toned fabrics and adapting the hairstyles.  SO---I'll add dollmaking to my long list of Someday Projects.  (I actually have a Pinterest Board - Someday Projects.)

My husband's grandmother made handmade Iso Aiti dolls for all her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  Although our youngest granddaughter is almost 10 years old, just past the doll stage, I am hoping to make some rag dolls as new baby gifts to help continue that tradition. (We're expecting a great-niece or -nephew in December!)

My not-so-little splurge was a new camera, a Canon PowerShot SX170 IS.

(This picture was obviously taken with the old camera.  The new camera isn't fancy enough to take its own selfie.  I am SO ready to say goodbye to those grayed backgrounds!!)

One of my Etsy goals for 2014 was to improve product photography.  I had been using the photo editing function more as a crutch than a tool.  And even then, with maximum brightness, my photos often had dingy gray backgrounds. (Sigh.)

After taking a fabulous non-credit photography class at our local community college, taught by Khara Plicanic, I decided to make the investment in a camera with more settings.  I am hoping to see some noticeable improvement in the quality of my listing photos in the near future.

Khara's book, Your Camera Loves You: Learn to Love It Back, was very readable, and just what I needed to conquer my fear of moving up to a slightly-more-sophisticated camera.

Written in an engagingly conversational style, the book is jam-packed full of examples with clear, simple explanations.
I would HIGHLY recommend it to anyone who is a beginner to intermediate level photographer.

The mysteries of shutter speed, aperture, and ISO have been revealed (at least in part).  In theory, at least, I "get it."  

Now I need to learn how to apply that new found knowledge with my new camera!  I bought a new toner cartridge just so I could print all 135 pages of the manual.  I need to take a BIG deep breath and go off "Auto" to experiment with some of my new settings options.  I may become a shutterbug yet!


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Mother's Day Storm

Mother's Day Storm - May 11, 2014
Photo by Brennan Joseph Jontz - Nebraska Through the Lens

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Pretty Pink Posies

It's Shameless Commerce Tuesday and today I'm featuring a new listing -- this pastel floral oven mitt.

The pretty pink roses play on a lavender (almost periwinkle) background with some whimsical white polka dots.  The fabric is from the Rosy Dots collection by Michael Miller Fabrics.

(You can tell I'm still using my old camera -- and it was cloudy yesterday.  Better photos to come!)

The lining is a pretty pink Kona cotton solid:

You can find this and many more oven mitts in the Oven Mitts section of my Etsy shop, Pasque Flower Creations.


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Treasury Thanks

It's a cold and rainy Mother's Day in Nebraska, and we're under a Severe Thunderstorm Watch as well. But this week's treasuries offered a bright and cheery respite.  I want to extend a huge THANK YOU to the curators of Etsy treasuries who featured items from my Etsy shops, Aunt Pheba's Vintage and Pasque Flower Creations, over the past week.

Realgemdesigns of County Durham featured my poppies on teal oven mitts in her pretty treasury, Floral Garden.  This beautiful rose quartz and amethyst necklace from Realgemdesigns made me think of the rose quartz back home in South Dakota, where some gravel roads are pink.

Brenda of ItsSewVintage featured my bright floral oven mitt in her treasury, My Cute Bright Kitchen.  This vintage apron pattern reminds me of my grandmothers, who always wore aprons (except to church).

Margaret of SplendidLittleStars featured my pink roses oven mitt in her treasury, May Flowers.  This silk velvet scrunchie in rose red is one of the beautiful tie dye creations in Margarets shop.  Her scrunchies are to dye for!  

Maryann Dunbar of OldMaterialGirl featured my poppies on teal oven mitts in her treasury, Happy Epsteam Mother's Day.  Love this vintage camera  (circa 1915) from Maryann's shop!

Natashalh of StalkingTheWildSnark featured my glamping oven mitt in her whimsical treasury, Just for Fun.  This cute batik seahorse soft toy fits that category to a T.  (I wonder if this is fabric leftover from Angel's shirt-making adventure?)

Duni of PeriDotByDuni featured my black and tan chevron mitt in her treasury, n a t u r a l.  Duni's shop features soft pastels and shabby chic, but when she ventures outside her comfort zone into darks, brights, and neutrals, her artist's eye is evident across that broad spectrum.  I did find one neutral item in Duni's shop, however -- this beautiful rose pendant in cream.

Eugenia Zoloto of ArtHeartsShop  (Ukraine) featured my deer in birch trees baby bib in her treasury, Under 10 -- a wonderful collection of inexpensive handmade gifts.  This beautifully intricate paper cut collage is entitled Freedom.

Wanda of SaffronFields featured my BBQ oven mitt in her Father's Day-themed Baby Boomer Team treasury, Rock n Roll Dad,  If dad is a history buff, he may be intrigued by this WWII Italian pick axe with bayonet mount.

Dixie Sisters featured my aqua chevron oven mitt in the treasury, ZigZag.  If you love chevrons, this one's for you!   With Mother's Day behind us, Father's Day and the 4th of July are just around the corner!  This colorful red, white and blue picnic caddie would be perfect for a family picnic.

Francesca e Frederica of FouLab (Florence, Italy) opened their shop March 2014, so please stop by and give this Etsy newbie shop some love.   My yellow chevron oven mitt was featured in the treasury, Mom is Mom.  FouLab has a unique assortment of accent pillows.  I love this one with shades of salmon.   Wouldn't this be a colorful dorm accessory for a grad heading off to college?  Or perhaps it would soften a lawn chair on the deck.

Sandy from SanmarnaStyle, a Baby Boomer teammate, featured my gray chevron oven mitt in her treasury entitled, Team Treasury.  Sandy is a sewist who also loves to create with her embroidery machine.  This golf towel would be a fun Father's Day gift for a dad who golfs.

The greens are would be a bit soggy today, I'm afraid!  Here's hoping for some warm, sunny days.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there. And for those who have lost a mother, lost a child, or yearn to have a child -- my prayers are with you.  Hugs.