Category Archives: Crafts

Holy Family craft project

Please excuse the blurry edges – it’s very difficult to scan these old magazines. I flattened it as much as possible.

The images will clear up when enlarged twice. Click then click again.

[Taken from McCall’s Christmas Make-it Ideas Vol. VIII, 1965; by Antoinette Brinks]

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Filed under 1965, Christmas, Crafts, Vintage Magazines

Nativity Quilt Ornament

Design by Mary Ayres

The pattern was on a page with lots of other images, which I edited out. Therefore, the original instructions to enlarge to 200% is probably wrong, unless the intent is to make a wall hanging rather than an ornament.

[Project from Crafts ‘n Things magazine, December 2007; design by Mary Ayres]

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Filed under Christmas, Crafts, Crafts - Cheap, Crafts - Textile, Faith, Needlecrafts, Sewing

Adoration of the Kings wall hanging

Adoration of the Kings by Antoinette Brinks

This is an attractive, kind of mid-century Christmas decoration that I found in one of my magazines.

A few years ago when we were in Watertown, New York visiting our son and his family, he and I went to a really great thrift store downtown. It was messy, dust was everywhere. However – not only did they have fantastic bargains, they even had a free table – right out on the sidewalk!

I was thrilled to find lots of old craft magazines from the 1950s and 60s for only .50 each. Today’s post was in one of them.

This was before – way before – photocopiers. When a pattern required enlarging, one was supposed to mark off a grid, then draw the pattern off box by box, using the original as a guide. Therefore, it was possible to increase it to any desirable size.

But it was work.

Now, we just slap something on our home copier (something almost unheard of even into the 80s) and set the size for enlargement.

(The instructions look kind of blurry until you click on them for enlargement.)

[This project is taken from the 1965 McCall’s Christmas Make-it Ideas, Vol. VIII magazine.]

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Filed under 1965, Antiques/Vintage, Christmas, Crafts, Crafts - Textile, Faith, New York, Vintage Magazines

Paper Houses

First the caveat: Please, please do not put a real tea light in these. They’ll catch on fire in a New York minute.

Found the pattern and instructions here on Just Something I Made. These are the easiest ones I’ve made; they go together very quickly, although I didn’t go to as much trouble as Cathe did. No bottoms in mine and I didn’t cut the windows, etc.

Mine aren’t Halloween houses; of course, the pattern can be modified many ways. Instead of using decorative paper, I mostly used stiff magazine pages with large areas of graphics. The gold colored house was a Godiva chocolates ad.


My favorite, I think was the one made from a book page. It looks particularly good with the battery powered tea light because the paper is more translucent and it sort of glows.

To make the chimney, I folded another piece of paper into a square, using a glue stick to affix the edges. Then I folded it in half, opened it back up, cut little slits in the bottom, folded the little cut strips down and glued it onto the roof. The smoke was made by glue-sticking two pieces together, cutting them into a curved shape, then gluing it down into the chimney.

At Just Something I Made, she cut the windows, but since I didn’t want the haunted house look and didn’t want to figure out my own pattern for regular windows, I just cut little squares of paper and glued them onto the sides.

The front door is just snipped up, then across.

Next I think I’ll try enlarging the pattern about 35% and making a little village, altering roof lines, putting on a little gingerbread trim, etc.

These would look great for a Christmas theme. Or with the bottoms glued on and a hole punched in the top for a string they’d be cute tree ornaments, or on a string of fairy lights.

Hutch Studio has some very cute ones for sale if you prefer to buy them in a kit rather than make your own patterns, etc.

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Filed under Book Page Projects, Crafts, Crafts - Cheap, Crafts - Paper, Internet links, Using What You Have

Jane Austen Era Straw Bonnets

Fashion plate from Le Bon Genre, No. 28, "Atelier de Modistes"


“This charming plate depicts a milliner’s studio, ca. 1807, showing many fashionable hat styles. Note the straw poke bonnet on the girl in the pink gown, and lingerie cap on the girl to her right. A poke bonnet and a round straw bonnet rest on hatstands in the background. The girl on the extreme right is fashioning a turban on a wonderful milliner’s head; she wears a wonderful gold ornament in her hat. A wonderful “skimmer” is on the floor beside her chair.”

Wikipedia defines a Poke Bonnet as “a women’s bonnet (hat) in the shape of a hood, featuring a projecting rim on the front side, which would shade the face of the wearer.

The poke bonnet came into fashion at the beginning of the 19th century. It is called a poke bonnet because all of one’s hair could be poked inside it.”

Early 19th century Leghorn straw poke bonnet


Trim on this hat is turquoise silk ribbon. “The original lining is intact. Due to their large size and fragility, they were difficult to store so few survive. Dimensions 11″ end to brim horizontally, 9″ across the eyes, and 6 1/2″ brim edge to crown join. $800.00 – 1,200.”

…”straw poke bonnet of intricately woven bands of braided straw in an openwork design, similar to fashion plate No. 42 (above left). This hat retains its original silk lining and is trimmed with two sheer silk ribbons (original?). Dimensions 12″ back to front horizontally, 8″ width across the eyes, and approximately 11″ vertically from top to chin. There are several breaks in the straw edge. $400.00 – 800.00.”

Above left is wallpaper box (circa 1820). Value: $800.00 – 1,200.00.”

Now, that’s a great box (and I love old boxes), but twice the value of the hat??

Split straw bonnet, circa 1810.


This rare bonnet has “overlapping layers of straw, the fancy openwork, and long, slightly angled crown. The ribbons present are probably not original. The hand-stitching is clearly visible in the close-up. This bonnet came from Massachusetts. Dimensions: 14″ horizontally (side back to side front), approximately 8″ wide across the eyes, and 9” from top front to chin. $1,000 – 2,000.

The Kyoto Costume Institute’s wonderful book, Revolution in Fashion 1715 – 1815, pictures on page 99 a hat very similar to this one. It also resembles an early nineteenth century straw bonnet at the Rhode Island Historical Society, made by the famous Betsy Metcalf. In 1798, Betsy, at the age twelve, made what is believed to be the first documented American straw bonnet. She the ‘learned all who care to make bonnets,’ launching the American straw hatmaking industry.”

All photos and quotes in this post are from “Vintage Hats & Bonnets 1770-1970” by Susan Langley. These prices are only a guide and were set in 1998 when it was first published.

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Filed under 1800s, America, Antiques/Vintage, Books, Crafts, England, Fashion, Femininity, Hats, History, Jane Austen, Made in the U.S.A.

Floral Altered Book pages

from Fran's Floral Altered Book

These page layouts are from an altered book my sister made; her theme was Flowers.

On this page, she distressed the pages with purple and buff colored stamp pads, used a daisy rubber stamp, magazine clippings for the flowers and heart. The wavy floral paper scrap was from a drapery sample book, which she ran through a crimper. Also she stamped a tulip on a layered tag and used a bit of photocopied ephemera.

From Fran's Floral Altered Book

This is one of my favorite altered book pages of all time. The purple flower is a silk one, and I wouldn’t have thought of using it because it’s so thick and bulky – but it’s perfect.

Besides the silk flower, she used a purple stamp pad for distressing the page, embroidered ribbon, words cut from a magazine (Home Grown and Spring), rubber stamp, and a decorative paper napkin.

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Filed under Altered Books, Cozy, Crafts, Crafts - Cheap, Crafts - Paper, Family, Using What You Have

George Washington Silhouette



Here’s the George Washington silhouette that I promised last February. The above tracing is from the instruction page (last photo in this post) and enlarged to 200%. The nose is not quite right. If you prefer to trace your own, click on the instruction page to enlarge it, then click again on the magnifying glass.

It’s the closest I could find to the ones that we always cut out and used for crafts back in the early 60s when I was in elementary school at Mingo.

Go here for the Lincoln silhouette outline.

One additional note: an optional background is to print off the Declaration of Independence setting the darker/lighter button much lighter than normally for the font. For an antiqued look, use a tan piece of cardstock.

These pictures are all from Holiday Touches for the Country Home, Memories in the Making Series by Leisure Arts.

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Filed under Crafts, Crafts - Cheap, Crafts - Paper, Heros, Holidays, Using What You Have, Washington's Birthday

“Thank You for the food we eat”: a Dick and Jane Altered Book

Mother, Jane, Father, Sally, and Dick

Dick and Jane readers were a wonderful part of my childhood – I still get such a cozy feeling just looking at them. So, when my sister, Abby and I decided to exchange little handmade Thanksgiving books last year, I chose the Dick and Jane theme for the “We Give Thanks” book I made for Fran.

Dick, Jane and Sally

Thank you for the food we eat,

Spot, Tim and Puff

Thank you for the world so sweet,

Jane, Sally and Dick

Thank you for the birds that sing,

Mother, Dick, Sally and Tim

Thank you, God, for everything.

Jane

Amen.

First I photocopied illustrations from a Dick and Jane reprint that I’d bought a few years ago at Wal-Mart (these reprints were from the 1950s’ editions). I also have 2 copies of original editions, and I wish I had used them to copy because the pictures are much better. A copy of a copy is very often not a good thing. But anyway, I selected pictures that I thought would illustrate the prayer we learned in Kindergarten at Mingo School (before our schools became so God-less).

The title “We Give Thanks” is in keeping with the Dick and Jane series, for instance, “We Work and Play”,  “We Look and See”, “We Come and Go”, etc.

To give it the feel of a board book, I made my own chipboard pages from a Coca-Cola carton. I probably should’ve rounded the edges slightly.

The background layout for the illustrations were enlarged and photocopied prose pages from the Dick and Jane books.  The edges were distressed with blue ink; brown might’ve been better.

For the prayer itself, I photocopied a page of old penmanship-style scrapbook paper. Now I realize that I could’ve bought a whole tablet of that paper at Dollar General for about $1.00.  Anyway,to get the look of children’s printing, I used a pencil in my left hand (I am right-handed). As you can see from the “Thank you God for everything” page, I accidentally wrote “Lord”. I need to fix that.

To finish, I punched 3 holes on each page and used blue gingham ribbon to bind it. On the back I used a “Handmade by” stamp and signed my name.

Now I think I’ll make one to keep for myself.

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Filed under 1950s, Altered Books, Books, Children's, Cozy, Crafts, Crafts - Cheap, Crafts - Paper, Faith, Free, Mingo, Thanksgiving, Thrift

Co-ordinated Bookmarks

Many of the books I read (both fiction and non-fiction) were either written in the past or are about the past. And since I’m very interested in cultural history, I like to make bookmarks that co-ordinate with the time period I’m reading about.


Last week, I re-read “Julia’s Hope”, a novel by Leisha Kelly, set in 1931.


I am currently reading “So Well Remembered” by James Hilton. It was published in 1945, but most of the story centers around 1921. When I looked in my paper stash, I found this image from a John Peacock fashion book and it just fit. The tag was one that an ebay seller enclosed with my purchase.

It’s a free craft because I use only what I already have and it adds a little extra pleasure to reading. And opening the book to a co-ordinated bookmark is a lot nicer than opening it to an old receipt or envelope (which I’ve employed many times).

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Filed under 1921, 1930s, Books, Crafts, Crafts - Cheap, Crafts - Paper, Ephemera, Fashion, Fiction, Free, Thrift, Using What You Have

Reading Material

As a quick look around our home will tell you, I love to read. Books, magazines, old letters, vintage catalogs (!), clipped articles, and yes, even cereal boxes. When I go to the antique mall or a garage sale, rarely do I buy anything that isn’t printed. Occasionally a pretty dish or a doll. Maybe a vintage article of clothing or old sewing supplies.


More often, my treasure sack contains various types of ephemera: old sewing patterns, a pattern catalog from the 1950s, a 16 Magazine from 1965, Needlecraft Magazine from 1932, a very well-worn elementary reader from the 1930s, a slim WWII volume: This is the Navy, a 1960 Montgomery Ward catalog, the little booklet/catalog that came with Barbie dolls in 1962, an old drama script, a handmade wedding album from the Depression, old high school and college yearbooks, cookbooks, paper dolls (!), school room ephemera (the seasonal cardboard cut-outs that teachers used to decorate their door with). Let’s pause and take a breath. (And yes, I know I ended that sentence with a preposition. It just didn’t sound right when I used “with which”.)

I just love the printed word.

However, not all printed words.

A few weeks ago Joe and I went to the Grapevine Public Library to see what offerings were in the Friends of the Library nook. These are items which have been donated to them, which they can’t keep and they will let you take them home for a donation to their funds.

One of the employees was re-stocking the shelves and I asked her if they had any donations which were too tattered to put out and that would go straight to the paper recycler. I explained that I like to do paper crafts and find it very difficult to tear up a book to use for projects (and I can never alter one that I liked). I explained the caveat that the books cannot be prurient, even for crafting. Can you just imagine a collaged piece from a Harold Robbins book?! Yikes!

(As a Fawlty Towers fan, I first typed Harold Robinson, then caught myself and corrected it. I think the Waldorf Salad episode was my favorite one.)

Anyway, she said that they had just received a large donation (I’m guessing several hundred books), most of which wouldn’t sell and that I could go into the office and look at them and see if there was anything I liked.


She showed me the Jalna series of books by Mazo de la Roche. The Jalna books were a popular series, the first of which was written in 1927. The lady told me that they would not sell.


Also there was the World War II collection by Winston Churchill, missing one volume.

On and on it went. I ended up with 41 books in my stack, knowing that only a few would end up as craft material. One slightly unpleasant aspect of all of it was the pricing. These were books without a price tag. Buyers are expected to come up with what they think is reasonable and fair. My general rule of thumb is a garage sale price. Magazines are a dime, children’s books and paperbacks a quarter and hardbacks .50 unless in very bad condition. But she wasn’t happy with my offer of $20.00.

Now, before you hit that comment link about how greedy I was, take a deep breath and remember that she considered all of these books unsaleable. They would get nothing for them when sent to the pulp mill. My choices were 39 hardbacks and 2 paperbacks (39 x .50 = $19.50 + .25 +.25 +$20.00). So, I offered her $25.00 and she accepted.

My plans are to read the Jalna series this summer, then perhaps start on the Churchill books this fall (they are huge – over 700 pages each; the usual goal of 1 book per week will collapse with those).

Many of the others are simply old novels. Maybe I’ll read them and then be willing to tear out the pages. But maybe not.


Three of them were old looking and when I read the titles I thought, “Surely I won’t mind tearing these up.”

Then we got them home and I really looked at them (I didn’t spend the time to look them over carefully while at the library).

One of belongs in a genealogy department because it’s an 1886 list of Illinois Civil War veterans, which includes their dates of service and promotions. Scratch this one from the scrap heap.


The next one is an 1898 volume called “The Lives of the Saints”. Even though we aren’t Catholic, a saint is a saint and my husband is particularly interested in St. Theresa of Avila, who is chapter one. Scratch this one from the scrap heap.


The last really old looking one was called the Illinois Blue Book, 1933-34. It was a state government book published in 1933. Alright! Here was one that I could use! A lot of cool looking photos of state officials and lists of government projects … and then right in the center is this gorgeous section of photos and drawings of the “Century of Progress Exposition 1833 – 1933, Held at Chicago, May 27 to Nov. 12, 1933”.

Argggghhhh!

And ebay? Ebay?? Someone save me from ebay. (However, I just got the bid on the most fantastic bundle of 1965 and 1967 Seventeen magazines. I’ll share the photos with you later.)

*Updated May 26, 2013

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Filed under 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960's, Altered Books, America, Books, Chicago, Cookbooks, Crafts, Crafts - Paper, Ephemera, Faith, Family, Fashion, Fiction, Grapevine, History, Humor, Internet links, Local Shopping, Sewing, Shopping, Texas, Vintage catalogs, Vintage Magazines, Winston Churchill, World War II