Saturday, July 26, 2008

Ragamuffin Handspun Yarn, Gauge Swatch

I spent some time yesterday working up a gauge swatch with my Ragamuffin cotton rag yarn for a rug project. This is knit in garter stitch on size 15 (US) knitting needles. I may tweak it up to a size 17, because the garter stitch is so dense. This would make a great bath mat or small rug near the kitchen sink.

I decided to use the golden ratio to determine a pleasing rectangular size rug. I'm no mathematician, but the fiberarts often encourage me to branch out and apply all that stuff learned in school.

I'll alternate colorful yarn skeins every two rows or so for a stripey effect. I gravitate toward the scrappy look in quilts, too.
Ragamuffin Handspun Yarn, Gauge Swatch (detail)
Ragamuffin Handspun Yarn, Gauge Swatch (collage)

Friday, July 25, 2008

My Maternal Grandfather as a Baby (Restored Tintype) [two]

My maternal grandfather was born 130 years ago today on July 25th, 1878. I never knew this grandfather except through photos of him as an adult and my Mother's stories. I had never seen this small tintype photo of him as a baby until I visited my Aunt Margaret on her farm in Muncie, Indiana, at Thanksgiving 2001.

She generously let us scan some family photos, including this image. The original tintype was a bit faded and damaged. When I posted the scan on flickr, one of my long-lost Galbraith cousins saw it and restored it to the state you see here. Thanks, Al! The original photo is shown below and a sepia version is included as well.
My Maternal Grandfather as a Baby (Restored Tintype)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Slugmobile in Her Early Days

More nostalgia from the archives: our 1978 Ford E-150 van, the Slugmobile, parked outside our new house in 1981. The blue in the far background is San Diego Bay.

The Slugmobile served us well for over twenty-five years--through one flood, many surf trips, one cross-country move of our own (and several local moves for friends). At the end, in September of 2004, she went to a local charity. Who knows, she could still be cruising the highways.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My Wedding Day, December 1981

My Wedding Day, December 1981, originally uploaded by confections.

I've been scanning family photos this week and came upon this one taken just before I got married on the beach in a cove near the Point Loma Lighthouse in San Diego, California.

I handmade my wedding dress from a vintage fine lawn eyelet bedspread that I had bought at a garage sale in Houston, where we had lived before moving to California.

We've celebrated our Silver Wedding Anniversary (plus one and a half) and are still going strong.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Vintage Handpainted Porcelain Salt & Pepper Shakers

I have a passion for handpainted porcelain, and these signed thrift-store salt and pepper shakers are bona fide treasures to add to my collection. The gentleman who waited on my sister and me had known the painter, Debbie Shattuck, who passed away a few years ago. These are dated 1952.

Other items painted by her had been donated to the shop, but these were the last of the lot. My sister got a set, too, and we feel lucky to have found them.
Vintage Handpainted Porcelain Salt & Pepper Shakers (two)Collage of Vintage Handpainted Porcelain Salt & Pepper Shakers

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sweet Niece

Sweet Niece, originally uploaded by confections.

This is one of my four nieces; she was three at the time and just turned nineteen this month. Happy Birthday, Liebling!

She's wearing a handpainted silk crepe-de-chine scarf that I made for her--it featured ripe pumpkins on the vine and the alphabet and numbers. This was taken by me in October 1992 in Pennsylvania with my husband's Nikon camera.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Vernacular photo: Mrs. Frederick Bartlett Conway (Sarah Crocker)

When I first spotted this cabinet card at a local antique store, I knew I had found a treasure. It was taken by Gurney Studios of New York City and is a striking study of Sarah Crocker (Mrs. Frederick Bartlett Conway), American actress and theater manager of the mid-nineteenth century.

Sarah Crocker Conway, 1833-187... Digital ID: TH-04569. New York Public Library

Sarah Crocker was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, in approximately 1833; she died in Brooklyn, New York, in April 1875.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Parisian Souvenir

Parisian Souvenir, originally uploaded by confections.

Maybe it's the fact that Bastille Day (July 14th) just passed, or that I have discovered in the last year that I have some French (Mosellan) ancestry, but all things Parisian just keep popping up in my life these days.

I found this lovely Pillivuyt porcelain dish/ashtray in a thrift store a few weeks ago and it has a place of honor on my desk right now. I'm also reading the Memoirs of Madame Vigee Lebrun which is fascinating. You can read it online here. It's a great summer read and transports you to pre- and post-revolutionary France.

The Hotel George V is still operating as a Four Seasons in Paris. As an exchange student/traveler many years ago, I stayed on the Left Bank in the Rue Delambre at the Hotel des Bains. It wasn't the George V, but it had many charms.Parisian Souvenir CollageParisian Souvenir, Pillivuyt Porcelain Dish/Ashtray

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Blue Potato Vine Blossom and Tatting

I was outside photographing this lovely piece of tatting and a blue potato vine blossom (Solanum rantonnettii) fell into the picture.

During one of our forays to an antique mall a few weeks ago, my sister and I found some lace and tatting pieces. This one of variegated lavenders and purples was together with a cream one of equal beauty.

I am incorporating them into a mixed media piece dedicated to one of my third great-grandmothers.Blue Potato Vine Blossom and Tatting (three)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Batch of Ragamuffin

Batch of Ragamuffin, originally uploaded by confections.

Here is a group of Ragamuffin handspun cotton rag yarn ready for knitting. They remind me of felted wool pincushions.

I have lots of fresh fabric to spin into some new skeins, and I'll be working on that this week. I'll let you see them when they are done. Happy Knitting!

Freshly Spun Ragamuffin Yarn (two)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Timeworn Delight: Hand-painted Pink Rose Wall Plaque

This one was part of a series of three that I spotted at a thrift store; however, the rose one stole my heart and I came home with it.

Timeworn Delight:  Hand-painted Pink Rose Wall Plaque

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Vintage Blue-Green Pressed Glass Creamer

Continuing the saga of accoutrements for the tea table, here is a charming vintage blue-green pressed glass creamer. It has an elegant shape and lovely pattern that pleases the eye.

Its color reminds me of my engagement stone, a type of blue-green tourmaline known as indicolite.Detail of Vintage Blue-Green Pressed Glass CreamerCollage of Vintage Blue-Green Pressed Glass Creamer

Friday, July 11, 2008

Blues and Greens, Handpainted Wool Yarn

Just a little glimpse of some handpainted yarns from a recent foray into my dye studio....

Handpainted Wool YarnCollage of Handpainted Wool Yarn

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Couple at an Amusement Park (Vernacular Photo)

I found this photo at one of my favorite antique haunts and happily added it to my growing collection of vernacular photos.

It reminds me of the "good old days" and stories that my mother and grandmother told me about visiting our local amusement park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Kennywood Park, which was recently sold to a Spanish company, but that's another story....).

I especially love that hat on the woman's knee; it is so emblematic of a warm summer afternoon with its wide brim and riot of silk flowers. It inspires me to embellish one of mine with wild abandon!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Oil Portrait of Anna Altmeyer, One of My Second Great-Grandmothers

Anna Altmeyer was born on 9 July 1844 in Michelbach, Saarland, Germany, and died on 18 October 1889 in Mifflin, Allegheny, Pennsylvania. Her parents were Nicholas Altmeyer and Catharine Baecker.

She arrived in New York City at the age of ten with her parents and three brothers and three sisters on 4 August 1854. The ship "Marcia C. Day" had sailed from Le Havre, France.

She married at the age of seventeen on 18 January 1862. This portrait dates from approximately 1865 when she was twenty-one years of age.

She was my paternal grandfather's maternal grandmother. My cousin Ron generously shared this image with me.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Handmade Straw Hat

Handmade Straw Hat, originally uploaded by confections.

A dozen years ago my sister and I took a straw hat class with Diana Cavagnaro of Designer Millinery in a loft in the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego, California. This is the mad-hatter style hat I designed on an ancient wooden hat block.

The class was excellent and I enjoyed the process of sewing the braid with raffia to create the hat, and steaming it into shape. It's a little snug for my head, but I display it proudly on its hat stand. I may decorate it with one of my needlefelted flowers and wear it to tea with my girlfriends next time.Handmade Straw Hat (two)Handmade Straw Hat Collage

Monday, July 7, 2008

Vallona Starr Sugar and Creamer

Here is a treasure I found at a local antique mall with my sister last week. It is a sugar and creamer set by Vallona Starr ceramics, active in California from the 1930's through 1953.

The lime color delights me and the gilt decoration makes it sublime. The set is quite diminutive, but a welcome addition to my tea table.Vallona Starr Sugar & Creamer (two)Vallona Starr Sugar & Creamer (three)Vallona Starr Sugar & Creamer Collage

Friday, July 4, 2008

Bargello Style American Folk Flag

Happy Independence Day, folks in the U.S.A.!

This American flag was a class project a few years ago; it hasn't been quilted yet. I love the watermelon and sparkler fabric, and it was perfect for the field of stars.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Watercolor Inspiration

Many years ago when I was a member of the Clairemont (San Diego, California) Art Guild, I purchased this watercolor by fellow member Lenora T. Karen. I was a budding fiberartist at the time, and the painting evoked the sense of peace I always feel when working with yarn, cloth, and fiber of any kind.

She has been presiding over my piano for a long while, and it is time to get her properly framed and give her a place of honor in my fiber studio.Watercolor by Lenora T. KarenHandwoven Basket with Wool Fiber