Sunday, April 10, 2011

Yard sales, and sewing machines, and fabric. Oh my!

Salutations! We have had an awesome and very busy weekend. We've spent most of it playing outside: running around, chasing after balls, playing soccer, throwing a frisbee, making sure the kitten doesn't escape from the house, and practicing going up and down the back steps ;)

Yesterday morning I casually mentioned to my husband that yard saling sounded like fun (hehe :) There were some good-sounding advertisements in the paper, so we jumped in the car and took off in search of second hand treasures. I have been looking for a sturdy sewing machine ever since my inexpensive one from a mass-retailer-who-shall-not-be-named wore out in less than two years. I should have known better than to buy one there (not to mention that particular model), but it was a bit of a late-night, pre-baby impulse buy ;) Anyway, I've had my heart set on getting a vintage sewing machine, but every single one I've seen has either been out of my price range or there were essential bits missing. Well, yesterday I was finally able to satisfy my heart's desire :)

I found this White sewing machine (model 940) at the garage sale of an elderly lady who bought it brand new in 1973 from a sewing shop here in town. It is in immaculate condition and came with several attachments and other sewing accessories, as well as the rolls of fabric in the picture. It runs like a dream and I can't wait to get a project going (summer break, please hurry up!). I'm not a very experienced seamstress, but I realized that part of the problem was not having much confidence in my machine. That shouldn't be a problem now :)

The rolls of fabric I got are thick and mainly vintage-y plaids, with one tweedish piece and a wool-like grey. I'm trying to decide what to make out of them. If you have any ideas, let me know below. I'm curious to hear them!

This is a view I can definitely get used to :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Whimsical Wednesday: the sweet serenity of books

A good book and a cup of tea from Thesmokingcat
The love of learning,
the sequestered nooks,
And all the sweet serenity of books.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I love to read. Love love love love love to read. I'm obsessed, smitten, can't stop thinking about what I'm going to read as soon as summer break gets here. One. more. month. and then I will be freeee to read whatever my heart desires!

Reading has always been an all-consuming activity for me. I tend to entirely zone out and be completely absorbed into the story, as if there were actually an alternate reality contained in the pages. Ahh, now what to read first after I have been liberated from this semester's oppression? (Yes, I'm in a rather melodramatic mood.) I'm always open to suggestions, though I already have quite a list going haha. A couple of books already on my rather lengthy list are...

The Crack in the Lens by Darlene Cypser. Last evening Odessa from the blog Book Eater featured this new novel, a prequel about Sherlock Holmes, and it sounds really good. She wrote a great review about it (without any spoilers!) that you can see here. It was very quickly added to my To-Read List :)

The Rainbow by D.H. Lawrence. I looove D.H. Lawrence, and a couple summers back I started a tradition of reading one of his novels every summer break. I've been meaning to read The Rainbow for ages and I am bound and determined that this year it will finally happen. There's something about his writing that appeals to me; it's probing and powerful and I find his thought-processes intriguing.

There are a ton of books I'd like to somehow squeeze in this summer, including re-reading at least two Jane Austen novels, Pride and Prejudice being one of them. What should the other be?

To celebrate this love for the written word, I have found a collection of whimsical items (it is Whimsical Wednesday after all :) for your perusal. I'd love to hear about some of your favorite books as well as who your favorite authors are. I know my To-Read List is about three miles long, but I'm always willing to expand my literary horizons just a little more :)

Paris, 1959 - Patrice Reads Obsessively, Sometimes To Her Own Detriment
from Purrr

Little Sailor Bookplates from thelittlefox

"It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it."  Oscar Wilde

I Read Banned Books Bracelet from CobwebCorner

Book Geek Necklace from bookgeekery

Pipino IV from holli

                                      Read to me riddles and read to me rhymes
                                      Read to me stories of magical times
                                      Read to me tales about castles and kings
                                      Read to me stories of fabulous things
                                      Read to me pirates and read to me knights
                                      Read to me dragons and dragon-book fights
                                      Read to me spaceships and cowboys and then
                                      When you are finished- please read them again.
                                              Read to me ~ Jane Yolen
A book is like a garden from matouenpeluche

My Greatest Adventures from TheLightFantastic

Our Book Club notecards from trafalgarssquare
Books to the ceiling
Books to the sky
My piles of books are a mile high
How I love them
How I need them
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them
Books to the ceiling ~ Arnold Lobel

Shakespeare and Company Book Store, Paris, France from metroline6
“Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to be always part of unanimity.” Christopher Morley

true love & lasting joy

I just read a wonderful article (here!) by Georgia from Pseudooctopus and thought I'd pass it along to you. It concerns good relationships, finding love, and especially taking your time and going easy on yourself. It is so poignant and definitely worth reading even if you've already found The One.

Joy from thewheatfield
Georgia's article got me thinking about love -- true love -- and what a complex thing it is. It requires constant tending and effort from both parties in order for it to survive and grow. It is hard, harder than I ever imagined, requiring faith and trust, and it conjures up a multitude of emotions I didn't even know were possible to feel in such quick succession. But it is also the most rewarding, satisfying and inspiring thing I know of and have ever experienced.

I also didn't fully understand the concept of Joy until I fell in love with and married my husband and then had our son. For me, Joy is recognizing and experiencing happiness in spite of pain and difficult life situations; it is identifying the wonderful blessings in our lives and feeling an unexplainable elation because of them, even though at the same time we may have many doubts about the future. I know I am on the right track in my life when I feel Joy, and the wonderful thing about it is that everything doesn't have to be "perfect" in order for it to be present. Money, status and power don't matter; Joy isn't dependent upon those things. What matters is what is going on inside of us, how hard we're trying to maintain and cultivate the love and joy we already have, and how willing we are to go through the bad along with the good for those we love.

I think my favorite part of Georgia's article is when she stresses the importance of falling in love with someone who you're willing to face the everyday and not-so-spectacular with. Sometimes we all need reminded that it's not always going to be sunshine and daffodils :) It also reminded me of a wonderful snippet from the 1968 version of Yours, Mine and Ours in which Frank (Henry Fonda) talks with the eldest daughter about what true love really is. Watch it here.

I truly hope you'll check out Georgia's article; it's definitely worth reading and she has a fantastic blog. I also hope that whatever life situations you are in, love and joy are ever-present and lasting. Have a wonderful night Mary

Friday, April 1, 2011

Frabjous Friday: A marvelous menagerie

Happy Frabjous Friday, everyone! I have had animals on the brain pretty much all the time lately because, well, for one thing I love animals, but also because the Etsy team I started, I {heart} Rescues, has really taken off. It has been up and running for one week and almost 50 people have joined! It's been so much fun reading everyone's stories about their pets- it has also been pretty motivating.

What are you waiting for from MeganRene
I decided that if I am going to actively promote the rescue and adoption of animals, responsible pet ownership, etc. I'd darn well better take a bit more action and not just be a talker ;) So, from now on 10% of every sale from my shop will be donated to my local animal shelter, the Southeast Kansas (SEK) Humane Society. They are a great group of people with quality care of the animals as their first priority. Unfortunately, like at a lot of animal shelters, funding tends to be sporadic, so there is always a need for good pet food, towels, dogwalkers, kitten cuddlers, and just about anything else a person is willing to help with. I'm not able to do too much right now between classes (and the inevitable pile of homework) and a rather strict household budget, but I am happy if my small gifts here and there are able to help improve even one or two animals' lives just a little bit.

Due to this preoccupation with our friends of the small and furry type, I decided to put together a collection of vintage items for your consideration & enjoyment with the theme being (surprise! :) cute little critters.

Vintage Woolikin Plush Dog from ivorybird

Vintage Children's Book Tubby Turtle from elizabethwrenvintage

Vintage Hunny Bunny Sweater from kyssa
"Animals are such agreeable friends- they ask no questions,
they pass no criticisms." ~George Eliot

Vintage Rabbit Wind Up Toy from vintagefiftyfour

Four Vintage Creatures from HendricksandDaughter

Vintage Pottery Stacking Hedgehogs from AustriaBrass
"Until one has loved an animal a part of one's soul
remains unawakened." ~Anatole France

Vintage Marcasite Salamander Brooch from NevermoreVintage

Vintage red kitten figurine from spacejam

Deer / fawn bookends from serendipitychild
"God made all the creatures and gave them our love and our fear,
To give sign, we and they are His children, one family here."
~Robert Browning