Monday, March 19, 2012


The last people who viewed our house said there was too much junk outside. Admittedly, yes, we have a lot of old things about. But they should have seen it twenty years ago. The last two residents before us trashed the place. First there was a little old lady who had lived here with her husband and family, and died here alone when they were all gone. She couldn't keep the place up. All the old farm equipment was left out in the grove, and the trees grew around it. 

After she died the farm was rented out, and the renters apparently threw all their garbage into the grove or wherever they liked. Growing up Jen and I found many "treasures" while roaming our five acres. You wouldn't believe the amount of Butternut coffee cans we found out back. One of our principal treasures was an tiny cologne bottle we dug up somewhere. We also spent hours trying to dig antique china plates out of tree stumps. I don't believe we ever got a whole plate. It's sad how much history was wasted when those people threw it out.

Anyway, due to the comment from our viewers, this week we have an all-metals collection bin sitting in our yard, being filled with all the old farm equipment, rusted bed springs, old pipes and miscellany of "junk" from our grove and outbuildings. One always finds some sort of buried and forgotten hidden things when cleaning out, so here's today's find: 

Treadle parts for an old sewing machine, and raspberry truffles. Both things I love. Dad found the parts in the corn crib, tied together with rusty wire. They're all in decent order and not too rusted, and I think they could be used again. The bolts were even there. The wood rod has the date May 18, 1884. I doubt we'll find the rest of the machine, so these will probably become wall hangings in my sewing room. Someone in this house was sewing clothes more than a hundred years ago, maybe even in the same room where I sew now.

Monday, March 12, 2012


When I visited Scotland last year I knew I had to buy some wool to take home with me. I ended up buying two metres of a light-weight gray and raspberry plaid. I think I bought it in Golspie; there was a nice little fabric shop there that had all kinds of yarn, wool and cashmere scarves, spinning wheels and bolts of wool. I'm sure the prices were reasonable, but everything seemed so expensive in Scotland. Even this wool, the cheapest in the shop, was 17 pounds for the two metres. Probably the most I've ever spent on material, but it was worth it.

The wool sat in my fabric bin until about two weeks ago when I got it out to start cutting. And then I got terribly, horribly sick and was bedridden for a miserable week and the fabric sat on my sewing room floor with the pattern still on top of it. Now that I'm finally feeling better I've taken it back up to accomplish my goal.

My goal was a Edwardian-style walking skirt with a high waist, hook-and-eye side closure, and moderate hemline. The skirt seams are french seams and I did the hem by hand. I had enough material left to make a matching vest and beret as well. The vest(Simplicity 4079, $1 at Hancock's) turned out fairly well, and I even had the patience to line it. I doubt I'll wear the vest and skirt together much, because I would look like a Scottish zebra, but I'm happy with the outcome.

As hard as it is to get a decent self-photo, it's actually harder to get someone else to stop what they're doing to take a picture for you.