Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Weekend Thrift

Okay, so I'm officially calling the 2009 garage sale season over. I will still probably hit the thrift stores periodically and stop by the odd estate sale (those tend to pop up throughout the year), but this weekend was my last real hurrah, I think. Between my favourite regular rummage sale and three estate sales, I did very well for myself, though we are definitely starting to seriously lack storage space for this stuff.

Above, my big splurge. Two Fire King Tulip Splash bowls. I don't know if you can tell from the photo, but one is larger than the other. I've never seen these bowls in real life, but have coveted them forever. I had no idea these suckers were so big, but they're huge and really heavy. Even though the decal is really scratched and faded, I was willing to pay fairly top dollar for them (though, I know mint versions can go for about $80 each). $30 for both, at an estate sale.

You know I can't resist the vintage Tupperware. Four dishes, $8 for the set at an estate sale.

This is labeled Royal Canadian Art Pottery, which I think is pretty much the same as Blue Mountain Pottery but not blue. I don't know as much about this stuff as I'd like to, but I do have a soft spot for it because it appeared often in my childhood. $5 at a garage sale.

Pyrex. And this isn't even all I got (there's another JAJ piece, but I have to scrub it down). I freaked out when I saw the 3 quart Designs (or "Arches") casserole. It's pretty much mint. And, a Blue Horizons bowl to boot. $2 each at rummage sale.

And, rounding out the pack, this pretty china plate. $5 at garage sale. Over and out.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Surprise, Baby.

Surprise! I knit something. Knitting used to be my #1 craft, but it's definitely fallen by the wayside over the years. I blame the lack of instant gratification, coupled with the high price of luxury yarn. Still, I do like the knits, and there is never a better time to knit than in anticipation of a new baby. And, lucky for me, I have a fabulous new baby to celebrate.

My new nephew, Jason David, came into the world a week ago this past Friday. When his brother, Caleb, was born, I spent six months knitting a spectacular baby blanket that somehow summoned the baby into being born the day it was finished. I hesitated to finish this little jacket too early, since my other brother was getting married at the beginning of the month and my very pregnant sister-in-law did not want an early baby to prevent her from being able to go to the wedding. So, I finished the jacket (except for seaming) about a week and a half ago, and wouldn't you know it, the little guy arrived a couple days later.

So, yes, a baby surprise jacket. This is the second one I've made and it was nowhere near as fun. I think a lot of that has to do with the non-variegated yarn. BSJs are a lot more fun if you use just the right kind of variegated yarn. Also, I used Lion Brand Wool Ease, because I wanted something that was natural, but washable (and, I really hate to say it, but I couldn't find time to go to my local yarn store -- they don't open until 11 most days and I tend to do my errands in the morning). This yarn really ticket me off -- the whole skein was essentially tied in one big knot. Yechhh. But, all in all, I think it turned out nice, if not a little large for young Jason. But he will grow into it. Yes, he will.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Weekend Thrift

Hey! I'm telling you, this September thing has been a kick in the butt this year. I'm excited that we're busy again, but with both Henry and Ruby enrolled in various endeavors, I've been running around like crazy. Not all of this stuff is from this past weekend, but here's the latest edition of Weekend Thrift:

First up, a new clock for the kitchen. It matches almost perfectly, and I loooove the date/day of the week part. $2 at the thrift store.

Perhaps not as practical (okay, I have absolutely no use for this thing, but it was too awesome to resist), a hot dog plate! Yes, a hot dog plate. $3 at the thrift store.

And, finally, some Pyrex. This is the really old Pyrex, which feels heavier than the stuff from the '70s and '80s. It's plain, and the cradle is in near perfect condition. I need to find a small lid to make it truly functional, but I think I'm actually going to get a fair amount of use out of this baby, which is what the thrift should be about, right? $3 at a garage sale.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ruby Tuesday: Back to School Edition

Today was Ruby's first full morning back to school (on Monday they split the class into hour-long shifts) and it was the first time that she'd seen her best school chum, Julia, since summer began. The girls were a little shy with each other at first, but before long they were chasing each other around the school yard. Parents will always tell you that there's nothing more amazing than watching their children make real friends, and I'm telling you it's true. Seeing Ruby form relationships with other little people really warms my heart.

For their art project today, the teacher asked the kids to draw a picture of their favourite thing about school. Ruby drew a picture of herself and Julia, together, arm in arm. This is her favourite thing about school -- better than the toys or the snacks or even the water table. I hope that Julia knows she's a pretty lucky little girl.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Oooh la la

Today is, in my world, the first day of fall. Even though the school kids in these parts have been back for over two weeks, Ruby's play school started today and Henry's play group starts later this week. Hurray! The kids and I thought it would be fun to have French toast as a celebratory lunch (we are not really breakfast-food-for-lunch kind of people, so this was novel), so that's exactly what we did.

Now, when I make French toast or other fussy kinds of brunch, I usually go all out and do the soak-overnight, fancy, alchemy-like crazy extravaganzas. This time I opted for simple as can be toast, with just bread dipped in milk, egg, and sugar. It was perfect and delicious and everyone ate it all up. Now, if you're like me and have stacks of recipes for complicated things but end up scratching your head when you want to make, say, fried eggs, here's my mother's French toast recipe:

2 eggs
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
6 slices bread
butter for griddle

You just whisk the first four together, dip in the bread (any kind of bread, from regular loaf bread to sliced cinnamon rolls will work), and fry both sides on a buttered griddle till brown. Easy peasy.

I also used this as an excuse to buy a product that I've long been drawn to in the grocery story exclusively by the packaging. Does this happen to you -- buying things strictly for the packaging? We're not really a jam family, but I've always wanted to try this Danish Orchards fruit compote because of the pretty blue tub. And guess what? Delicious. I think we might have french toast for lunch more often. Next up: pancakes!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Vintage Henry

Yesterday my little brother got married. I can't be happier for him — he found himself a really great woman to marry and she fits in very well with the rest of our family (the fact that she loves and appreciates my insane-yet-lovable father is a definite plus). It was quite the family occasion: my other brother was the best man and the gorgeous Miss Ruby was the flower girl. Henry wasn't in the wedding party, but we wanted him to wear something really special.

Enter, the suit. The picture doesn't truly do it justice (I find indoor weddings impossible to shoot at -- there's never any natural light), but here is Henry in a beautiful vintage Italian short suit. The suit was purchased for Aaron's uncle Peter (who is less than 10 years older than Aaron) when he was born in the late '60s. Aaron's mum has a beautiful picture of Peter wearing in and I believe Aaron wore it at some point too. I was thrilled that Henry had an occasion to wear it when it fits him.

There's another similar suit, with brown shorts and a velvet jacket that Peter wore when he was about four, to Aaron's parents wedding. In turn, Peter's son Oliver wore it to my wedding eight years ago. I'm trying to convince Aaron's sister to plan to get married at a time when the brown suit will fit Henry, but she politely informed me that she will not plan her life events around the size of a child's suit.

We've actually managed to amass a fairly large collection of vintage boys clothes over the last year or so. We've been handed down a lot of Peter's old European-made clothing and we have an elderly neighbour who occasionally brings over packets of her children's clothes as an excuse to come over and gossip. But this suit is one of my favourites. Maybe one day Henry's own son will wear it to a family wedding.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Quilt! Quilt! Quilt!

Okay, before I get started, can I just say how difficult it is to photograph a quilt? I think I'm a decent photog, but I've got to hand it to the blog ladies who take great quilt photos. And I humbly apologize for mine -- this little quilt is much cuter in real life.

But, on to the back patting portion of the show: I finished my very first non-doll quilt. It is a lap quilt — specifically the lap quilt from Bend The Rules Sewing. I started this thing well over a year ago -- I remember buying the fabric at a vintage fabric sale with a six-week-old Henry strapped to my chest. I made the top soon after that and finally finished the binding a couple of days ago. It isn't perfect -- I think the batting I used was too thick, I forgot to trim it up properly before binding, and the binding itself is a bit lumpy. But I finished it, and I love it.

I really am pleased with how these vintage fabrics worked out. I really love the colour combo and the thing that most attracts me to learning how to quilt is the combo of all of these crazy prints. I'm big into using scraps (the less to buy the better), and the spirit of thriftiness is what invented patchwork in the first place. I think I may try to tackle another lap quilt before diving into the sacred baby clothes quilts, or maybe not. Either way, I'm happy that I dove into this project feet first, and big thanks to Amy for taking the scariness out of my very first quilt.