Posts Written On November 2011

Vintage-Inspired Christmas Stockings — finished

These stockings took longer than I expected, but I’m sure I could streamline the process a bit.  Locating suitable graphics from vintage stenciled stockings was a challenge, because so many of the them have tiny details and lettering that cannot be duplicated with my fusible web process.  The Santa and reindeer were simplified from the original pattern, and I wasn’t sure how that would turn out, but I’m pretty happy with it.  Maybe I should take another look at some of the more intricate designs to see if they could be adapted to my technique.

Next time I might make the white scalloped border larger to add a name.   The border is smaller on these stockings because they were already big, and I wanted them to end up the same size as our current stockings (about 13″ x 19″).  Fortunately, there is still room to add names in the main section, although I had to remove a snowflake from the red one to make space.

I have only seen a few vintage green stenciled stockings online, but I had a nice piece of green wool felt I wanted to use, and I do like the color.  Actually, I think these stenciled designs would look nice on other felt colors as well, but the traditional red is still my favorite.



Vintage-Inspired Christmas Stocking – WIP

This is my take on the classic red and white stenciled Christmas stockings from the 1940s and 1950s.  I remember seeing these in the the dime stores when I was little, and I always liked the stenciled pictures.

I’m not sure how they applied the white paint, but stenciling just wasn’t an option for me.  It’s not a craft I’ve done before, and I knew it would end up looking all fuzzy on the felt.  The technique I ended up using is the same one I used to make my sister’s Halloween table topper — fusible web applied to a tightly woven white fabric, cut with tiny scissors, and then pressed onto the background fabric.  I haven’t decided yet how to finish it off (maybe a scalloped edge), but the wool felt is pretty thick, so I don’t think I’ll need to line it.

This is an item I’m considering selling in my future Etsy shop — something I’ve been thinking about forever, but haven’t been able to get my act together to actually set up.

Barbara (Oodles) will probably recognize this stocking since I totally stole the design from one of her cute vintage stenciled stockings.  Now I think I’m ready to make one with a Santa and reindeer.


Paris Illuminé Lamp – Finished

Turning the concept in my head into an actual lamp was actually not that difficult, if you don’t include the part where I accidentally managed to smear glue on one of the panels and had to completely redo it.  I am thinking about making a similar lamp for a child’s room, but there are a few steps in the process that I’m going to tweak.

Overall, I’m very happy with the way the lamp turned out.  It looks pretty much like I envisioned it, although I think it has a distinctly “homemade” look to it.

It’s now officially freak out mode which always happens around Thanksgiving.  There are 3 more gifts to finish, and one actually isn’t going to be completed — it’s one of those situations where the recipient has to give the present right back to you so you can finish it.  I like to blame the wedding for messing up my schedule, but it seems to happen every year regardless of what’s going on.

Room Lights On

Room Lights Off


Paris Illuminé Lamp – WIP

Okay, this project ended up being a lot trickier than I expected. After cutting four prototypes of the Eiffel Tower testing different sizes, paper and glues, I finally came up with a plan that worked. It took almost the whole day to cut these four sides — I had to take breaks because my hand would cramp from holding the X-acto knife.

At first I tried using cellophane paper, but it was hard to work with because it’s so thin, and it didn’t look that great because the color is not saturated enough. Gordon suggested plastic, so I bought some colored transparent binder dividers, and they worked much better. For the white areas, I used a thin parchment-like paper sold for scrapbooking.  The original images are located in this earlier post, in case you would like to try some paper cutting.

Now I just need to make these panels into an actual lamp, which should end up 7″ across and around 9″ tall.






Paris Illuminé

This is a fabulous book from Patricia (a/k/a Pillpat on Flickr) who has uploaded the most amazing collection of vintage illustrations.  I love these images so much, that I am trying to construct a nightlight using four of the designs.  With an X-acto knife, I am cutting the designs out of black card stock, and then I’m going to add parchment paper and colored cellophane pieces, which, according to Patricia, is the intended use of the book.  I’m going to try and build this myself, although I’ll probably need Gordon’s help with the electrical part.

Clicking on the the photos will take you back to Patricia’s Flickr set, where you can also see the rest of the pages.

paris illum p0

paris illum p2

paris illum p3

paris illum p8

paris illum p7

paris illum p12


PFC Lawrence Anthony Dellasega

My father was a rifleman in WWII, serving as a scout in Company B of the 395th Infantry.  He had been in a reserve unit, and was not called up until April of 1944, because he was older (33) and the father of two small children (my older sisters, Jean Ann and Sally).  He was in France, Belgium and Germany and fought in 3 major conflicts, including the Battle of the Bulge.

Lawrence Anthony Dellasega, 1911 – 1984

While he was gone, he and my mother wrote hundreds of letters to each other, and mother saved every one that she received.  This is one of my favorites which was written especially to Jean Ann and Sally in 1945.  It’s such a sweet letter, and although the mention of the dead German seems weird now, I guess it probably wasn’t at the time.

One month after this letter was sent, my dad was shot while on a scouting assignment.  The bullet actually hit a tree right next to him, which resulted in lots of shrapnel wounds to his face and the loss of most of his teeth.  My mother received a telegram (which she also kept) from the Secretary of War, stating that her husband had been “slightly wounded.”  My dad told me later that those telegrams always said “slightly wounded” or “killed in action” — nothing in between — but I’m not sure if that’s true.  He was sent to a hospital in France for treatment, and then back to the front lines.

Daddy kept all of his medals in his Purple Heart presentation box.  Whenever I was sick, he would take them out, tell me about each one, and then pin them on my pajamas.  I loved that.



Charley Harper Water Drop Quilt – 25 Organisms

Today I received an email from Nicole at Follow the White Bunny, who wrote to tell me she was featuring my Water Drop quilt on the hand embroidery blog, Feeling Stitchy.  I was very excited, and thought I should get busy and post a new photo of the top, since I have completed 8 more organisms since the photo she included.

A few readers asked me about the background fabric, and I did manage to locate a scrap of selvage which reads “11216 DAIWABO Selection for E.E. Schenck Company.”  Also, this time I have included some close-up photos, and I hope they look all right since it’s dark and stormy here today.

This just made my day!


Horn of Plenty Quilt Pattern – Eveline Foland – 1932

Eveline Foland created several series quilts for the Kansas City Star.  The Horn of Plenty design with its pretty fruit appliqued blocks and cornucopia quilting was published in 1932.  Kathy Delaney has published a lovely book, which includes both the original patterns and her updated designs, but she eliminated the embroidery, which is my favorite part. The pattern with instructions is available here.


Charley Harper Water Drop Quilt – 17 Organisms

It’s a lot of fun figuring out how to replicate each one of the organisms, except when my plan goes completely awry.  One of my favorite organisms is the one with the ruffly edge and the giant hairs sticking out.  Hand applique was not an option for me on this one, but instead of my usual technique, I decided to try fusible, which was a huge mistake.  Even the lighter fusible versions result in a stiff feel, and are practically impossible to stitch through by hand.  I finally managed to finish it, and then ripped the whole thing off and did it over.

The technique I use to applique these more elaborate shapes is sort of weird, but it works well for me, and ends up being pretty soft and stitchable.  First trace the outline of the motif on the wrong side of the fabric.  With a small brush, apply a light coat of fabric glue right on the line, no wider than 3/16″ (or less if you can manage).  I use Aleene’s Fabric Fusion, because I find Fabri-Tac too thick for this purpose.  Let the glue dry, or blow it dry with a hair dryer if you’re impatient like me.   Now cut out the piece (the glue will prevent it from raveling) and lay it on a sheet of paper, wrong side up.  Brush a thin layer of glue on the very edges of the piece (again, no more than 3/16″) and using your hand, press the piece onto the background fabric and let dry.  Now you can stitch it down near the edge — sometimes I do this by hand using blanket, running, or back stitch; other times I use the sewing machine.  In the case of one organism (green with white edge and French knots), I ended up painting the edges of the piece, which replaced the first application of glue.

There are 33 organisms in this drop, so I’m excited to be halfway done.

11/11/11 UPDATE: I have just completed 25 organisms — see this post for new photos.


The original illustration


Vintage Crocheted Pillowcases — New Embroidery

The Christmas present projects are going fairly well now.  I am hand quilting the Cross-Stitched Tulips quilt top, and adding more organisms to the Charley Harper water drop quilt.  It’s actually beginning to look doable after all.

These pillowcases with the beautiful crocheted edging were purchased on Ebay.  The crochet design is so unusual with its geometric look, that I thought I would try more stylized embroidery designs, rather than my normal florals.  Both of these patterns appear on one page of the 1886 J. F. Ingalls catalog, a resource I have used several times for pillowcase patterns.  The original scans were uploaded by John Governale, but a cleaned up copy is available in Luann’s (Embroiderist) Flickr set.

The embroidered rick-rack was sort of an afterthought.  Because of the hemstitching, I had to place the design higher than usual, which left a fairly large blank area that I felt needed to be filled in with something.  I tried several smallish Ingalls borders, but nothing looked quite right.  Finally I remembered this peachy-colored rick-rack trim I removed from a vintage feedsack tablecloth before making it into an apron for the bridal shower.  If I didn’t have that tiny hoarding tendency, I might have thrown away that used rick-rack.


Vintage Embroidered Tulip Tablecloth – Remade

This little topper was created from a rectangular vintage embroidered tablecloth I purchased on Etsy.  There were a couple of rust stains on the linen that I could not remove, so I cut up the tablecloth, saving the four embroidered corners.  This was a great opportunity to use some of my cute vintage French fabrics to make a new center and two borders.   I embellished the center piece with a little embroidery, backed the topper with a cotton sheet, top-stitched the topper to the backing and then stitched a binding made from a small vintage scrap. The topper is 40″ square.