Friday, December 14, 2012

Shell Buttons

I found these lovely shell buttons on ebay and bought a bag of 36 for Old Farm projects. Lately I have been making pillow covers using buttons which adds more interest and design options. The pillow covers here were made from the left-over fabric I had from making large bolster covers for the big upstairs bedroom and was just enough to soften two footstools for that room. They are cotton lined and stuffed with Pottery Barn feather inserts.

The varied thickness and shell patterns of these buttons make you want to use them…

Bill painted two old footstools I found on ebay and stripped first. They are the last pieces of furniture for upstairs which I will use for many things, and my Christmas present!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Christmas Corsages

I bought a box of little vintage ornaments for $5.00 at the Flea and decided to make them into Christmas corsages. Does anyone remember wearing a corsage pinned to their dress or banded onto a wrist at a past prom or holiday church service (my Mom)? Well it is a vintage idea I guess and this group of festive friends may end up on the Christmas tree together or on special holiday gifts?

Beeswax Ornaments

When Bill bought our house in Hopewell, the back carriage house had its’ western wall filled with honeybees and lots of honey. Shortly after we were married Bill decided to box up all those bees and start harvesting honey. Eventually we had enough beeswax collected to make something from it, and the above ornaments were the result. I made sixty red (add red crayons to the wax) and natural Santas and Angels last Christmas for our first tree at Old Farm! They looked and smelled so sweet.  I use a retired rice cooker to melt the beeswax in and inexpensive plastic candy molds to ladle it into with loops of embroidery thread added to the tops while just poured. The freezer cools them quickly and helps them pop out of the forms easily.

Christmas Musical Snowmen!

Here are Bill, Leif and Christian during a beekeeping session. The boys were quite apprehensive in those early days so I gave them bottles of blow-bubbles in this case. Later they both learned how to harvest or spin out the honeycombs, and Christian eventually kept his own hive next to Bill’s on our front lawn. Maybe we will bring bees to Old Farm someday after so much work gets done?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Bakelite Buttons

Home in Hopewell, we were without electricity for more than a week after storm “Sandy” and most of this time I spent cleaning up the yard or cooking defrosting food. When the electricity came back, I was ready to find a sewing project I could do at home using what I had laying around the house. It was fun to hunt through my baskets of sewing stuff and so calming to create something new while order was restored around us.  Below are two pillows I made with large Bakelite buttons I had found in a bucket at the Flea, and a scrap of velvet from my material basket.  They have 18" square feather inserts from Pottery Barn.

Back in college, I bought a big black Bakelite ring and a few colorful bracelets (before I knew what they were). I wore them constantly and slowly added a few more pieces when I found them very affordable. I adore the endless color, patterns and warmth of old Bakelite jewelry. It seems that no matter what combination I decide to wear…they always look great?

These older Bakelite buttons were another Flea find, and I used them on my Princeton University Reunions jacket (I am an honorary member of Bill’s Class of 1975)! I was actually able to design the fabric for these special blazers which every Princeton Class produces when they celebrate their 25th Reunion. The Class leads the P’rade that year Reunion in the latest Princeton jacket and fabric, and then wears them to every ensuing Reunion or Princeton event. It was quite a thrill to see so many jackets uniting a group of wonderful friends in such a special graphic and traditional way!

Reunions...(photo courtesy of Ronnie Raymond) Princeton admitted women two years before our Class and women blazers have been designed with a distinction since then. Our women's jackets are made with the white tiger heads facing up and the men's have the black tiger heads up. Can you see it?

Here is the Princeton University Band whose jackets our Class helped refurbish.Guess who used to play clarinet in this band?

Bill and the Band (photo courtesy of Sally Sears)

Class Umbrellas! For our last major Reunion, our Class was first to make nylon umbrella fabric and umbrellas...

I designed this big banner (another Reunions first) for our Class site - which changes every five years. The toasting tiger image came from a very old post card invitation to George Washington's birthday competitions held on Princeton's campus after Washington had moved the capital there to avoid his army deserting in Washington DC. The other half of this image was George Washington toasting the tiger. I created four color overlays by hand drawing them from the black and white image.Humphrys Banner Company in Philadelphia produced this banner with selected and then appliqued colors of fabric. Some impressive sewing!


Monday, October 29, 2012

Visiting Nantucket

Old Farm is a ten minute ride from the ferry to Nantucket, my favorite place to visit, especially in September and October. It is still warm and peaceful with all of the beaches public, and plenty of places to rent a bike and visit easily. Here are some photos I took while touring through the historic fishing village of Sconset. I find so much inspiration in these early, small, and individual cottages.

The core of the above house named Auld Lang Syne is thought to have been built in the 1670’s, which predates Nantucket’s “Oldest House” The Jethro Coffin House (another fun place to bike to) built in 1686. The older cottages in Sconset were built when it was an early whaling station.

This cottage is covered with Sweet autumn clematis, which I've just planted on Old Farm's fence. In early fall it's starry flowers have a lovely sweet fragrance which hangs in the air and drifts across lawns.

I am planning to put lattice like this on the back walls (and roof) at Old Farm; then plant New Dawn climbing roses.

I also like to bike around the Middle Moors (on the way to Sconset from town) where old Indian trails can lead you to Altar Rock, a high point in Nantucket. Here you can see opposite shores and above the harbor. My favorite place to rent a bike is "Young's" near the harbor where you can pick up great island maps, the best B & B is the Union Street Inn which is near town in the historic district, and a romantic place to dine is the Company and the Cauldron.

A scenic place to bike to is Sanford Farm whose lands and wide trails stretch from above town to the more remote beaches on the far side of the island. Nearly half of Nantucket land is preserved open space and the trails here include a large parcel. Below is a painting Leif made while visiting, which reflects the moodiness of the sky this time of year...