Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mimi Kirchner's Dolls, Tiny Worlds, and a Giveaway

I stumbled across the work of Mimi Kirchner while reading Etsy's The Storque. I've been everywhere in her Etsy shop looking at her wonderful dolls and tiny world ("make-do") pincushions. I am nearly speechless. Her work really strikes a chord with me, and I'm not even certain why that is so. I used to collect dolls when I was younger, and although I really don't need to start collecting them again considering how immense some of my collections have become, but I really, really want one of her beautiful works of art. I love her Luna babydoll, and her schoolgirl and nerdy girl dolls!

If you'd like to learn more about her and her work, you can watch this video courtesy of Etsy:

I'm just smitten. Her work is just more inspiration to start sewing and crafting much more often.

By the way, she's giving away one of her tiny worlds! Click here for details.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

New in the Shop!

A few new goodies that have been posted to the Etsy shop:

1950s - Advance 8029 - Wiggle or full skirt? You choose.

1960s - Simplicity 8088 - So mod, so cute.

1960s - McCall's 9710 - Adorable! I love the flowered jumpsuit!

More to come!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Never Wear White Pants to an Estate Sale

Just thought I'd share that tip! I wore white pants to an estate sale today and now they are multicolored with dirt and rust stains. Nevertheless, it was worth it! There were thousands of books at that sale. Look what I found:

Dressmaking by Singer, copyright 1958:

It's the perfect complement to a 1972 Singer sewing book I've had for years:

I love the funky (or should I say groovy?) cover. And it has nearly triple the number pages of the 1958 version, as I believe it was marketed to the beginning sewist. I picked up a circa 1972 pocket-sized book of knitting and crochet stitches, and also this Encyclopedia of Knitting and Crochet Stitches from the same era:

It's a fabulous book with many stitches I haven't seen before. The only drawback is that the photos are in black and white. I am hoping that 1958 version of the Dressmaking book is no longer under copyright protection so I can share some of the illustrations with you.

I came away from that sale feeling vindicated, because I have been accused of having too many books. I have to admit that I have over 900 books in my house. No, I'm not a packrat or compulsive hoarder. I just love books. And there was someone (rest her soul) who loved books as much as I do and took good care of them. As far as I'm concerned, you can never have too many books!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Serendipity Vintage! August Grand Opening

I am excited to announce that I opened an Etsy shop, Serendipity Vintage, a couple of weeks ago. I have vintage sewing and craft patterns for sale, as well as any other wonderful finds that I might discover on my outings, such as housewares or vintage books. As a Grand Opening special receive a FREE vintage notion with purchase.

I thought I'd showcase some of the great patterns I've posted to the shop in the past week or so....

1940s - Simplicity 2123

1950s/60s - Simplicity 4526

1960s - Simplicity 6488

1960s - McCall's 9758 - a personal favorite! A classic, elegant wedding dress.

1970s - Simplicity 5962

1970s - Simplicity 8827

I add new finds nearly every day, and will announce exciting finds now and then here in the blog. A few more 40s and 50s patterns will be added soon. And stay tuned...I will be posting a FREEBIE vintage pattern in the next week or so!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

FREE trial to CoPA, the Commercial Pattern Archive database

Pattern collectors and sewists:

CoPA On-Line, the Commercial Pattern Archive database, is offering free access for one week! The database has over 48,000 vintage pattern records from 1868 - 2000, and you can print any of the pattern design images (line drawings, not full-size pattern pieces) for free.

The database seems to be very useful for dating patterns as well. It's worth a look for the apron patterns alone!

Guest access begins today and extends through August 25th. To log in to the site the username is guest and the password is pattern. To get started, select the link for instructions on the top navigation bar.

Thanks to Off the Cuff for this great announcement.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Some things never go out of vogue....

It seems that many of us are doing this these days:

And I'm trying to live by this code:

And I'm attempting to do this well:

But so far I've got a jungle in my backyard, along with a few cherry tomatoes and a rock-hard squash. Anyway, I'm looking to the wisdom of the past to get through these tough economic times. Crafting is one of those "little luxuries" that need not break the bank and really adds to the enjoyment of life. At least, that's my two cents!

These and other vintage war posters can be found in Northwestern University's World War II poster collection.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

What I Made: Butterfly Notecard

A friend invited me to join her at The Art Bar in Santa Ana, CA, this afternoon. This was my first visit and I think it's a great concept. It's a little gem of a craft shop tucked away in the Santa Ana arts district where you can drop in and make crafts! If you enjoy decoupage, metal charms, collage, scrapbooking, book making, and other paper-based crafts then this is the craft store for you.

I had a good time, but before I gush too much, let me tell you that there was a downside to going on a Sunday afternoon. The shop was very, very full and noisy. As I did the project Nicole (the owner) rang up purchases and assisted shoppers. As a result there was a lot of "down" time as I waited for Nicole to give me the supplies I needed for the next step. However, she made up for the wait with her cheery attitude and a small little freebie in the note card kit that I purchased. NOTE: I went back to The Art Bar a couple of weeks after this post. The Art Bar truly is a ZOO on the weekends. Enter at your own risk.

I made a butterfly notecard using a notecard blank, Sakura glaze pens, glitter glue, and Cavellini wrapping paper for the foundation illustration. I drew the antennae and the caterpillar's legs using a superfine pen.

Here's the front:

Here is a detailed shot of the back:

It's not perfect, but it was a first try. Next time: less glaze pen and less glitter.

This was such an easy, quick little project. I wish I had layered more of the glazing on the card but I didn't have enough time to let all of the layers dry before I had to leave. I bought a little kit while I was there to make a different notecard (without the glazing). I think I may pick up some of the glaze pens and some of the wrapping paper this week...I want to make more cards!

Iraqi Bundles of Love

I just read a post on Pink Chalk Studio's blog about Iraqi Bundles of Love. I was directed to Kristin La Flamme's blog, whose husband is the soldier organizing this wonderful drive:

The basic premise is to make a bundle of fabric and sewing supplies from your own stash, mail it to my hubby’s APO (American) address, and he will facilitate the distribution of the bundles. By bundling the goodies, it saves time on his end as he won’t have to redistribute the supplies or use excess packaging for them, and it makes it far simpler for his local counterparts to distribute them to those in need.

Give your unused fabric, notions, and sewing tools to those in need. The project only runs until September 7, 2009, when the military unit who is sponsoring this drive leaves Iraq. If you want to help, the instructions for building a bundle are here.

I'm going to poke around in my closet/stash to see what I might have to send!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Granny's Shawl

Today is my grandmother's 91st birthday. I have been making a shawl for her for over a year now (yes, I feel guilty that it is still unfinished). Granny is like a little bird, and this shawl already fits her frame, but she requested an extra-large shawl so she could wrap it completely around her arms.

Here is a close-up so you can see the stitch pattern (and my mistakes!):

I'm using Priscilla Hewitt's All Season Shawl Pattern. She has written many free patterns, so if you like to crochet, check out her website. I couldn't find Aunt Lydia's Denim yarn in white/bleached anywhere last year, so I substituted Lion Brand Cotton-Ease in Snow.

I should have had this done by now, but I've always had trouble finishing the crafts that I start. So I've set myself a goal to finish this by the beginning of September. Wish me luck!

And Happy Birthday, Granny!

Thursday, August 13, 2009


There's a wonderful giveaway at the Vintage Goodness blog sponsored by the All Modern website!

The contest ends today at 6 p.m.! Hurry up and visit!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Disclosure Policy - DO NOT PUBLISH AGAIN - New version in Pages

This policy is valid from 1 July 2011. 

Serendipity Handmade is a personal blog written and edited by me. I blog because I love writing and sharing my love of all things vintage and my personal vintage collections with you.

I am not compensated to provide a certain opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics. My views and opinions that I express on this blog are purely mine. This blog does not accept paid topic insertions. I always give my honest opinion in product and service reviews.

I do accept and keep free products and other forms of compensation from companies and organizations.

If I claim or appear to be an expert on a certain topic or product or service area, I will only endorse products or services that I believe are worthy of such endorsement. However, any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider.

This is also the official blog of the business Serendipity Vintage and SerendipityVintage on

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Links to businesses, business ads, service providers ads, and other blogs are provided as a courtesy to the reader and the business owners or blog owners. Some ads in the sidebar represent paid sponsorship. I am not responsible for the products or services that are offered by any business or bloggers that are linked to or from this blog, or for any financial transaction that may be made as a result of clicking on a link or ad to another business or blog.

For help in writing your own policy, go to

Monday, August 10, 2009


ser.en.dip.ity [ser-uh n-dip-i-tee] (sěr'ən-dĭp'ĭ-tē) -noun
1. an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident
2. an instance of making such a discovery
3. good fortune; luck

Why did I name my blog Serendipity Handmade? I really love the concept of serendipity, and it truly explains how I find obscure vintage items, an interesting book to read, or a great recipe to make for dinner. Serendipity implies fun, happiness, and a bit of good luck. And that's what this
blog is all about!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Welcome to Serendipity Handmade!

Welcome to my brand new labor of love, Serendipity Handmade. After spending the last year-and-a-half lurking on dozens of crafting, collecting, cooking, writing, and homemaking blogs, I'm excited to carve out my own little niche in the Blogosphere.

I've been very inspired by the women and men whose blogs I have been reading. Every time I looked at someone's beautiful knitting, paper crafting, or sewing I longed to try to my hand at it. Although I was a crafty kid and dabbled at crafting in my teens, somewhere along the line I stopped focusing on making art on a regular basis. Reading others' blogs helped to remind me how important creating things with my hands or with my mind really is to me. At first I thought that I could never start a blog, because I haven't written for fun in a long time, and I hardly ever started a craft (or finished one!). I just didn't feel like I had interesting tidbits to share. Well, it turns out that I do have a lot to share!

I bought a new sewing machine a few months ago and have been purchasing notions and fabrics in preparation for making clothes and items for the home. I haven't sewn more than a button on a shirt in 20 years, so it should be interesting to pick it up again! I've also been crocheting a shawl for over a year now -- it's high time I finish it!

I've also been getting ready to open a vintage pattern shop at More details soon!

I plan to share the things I love here: vintage sewing patterns, crafts, vintage books and magazines, the occasional recipe, and other goodies! And I hope that you too find something you enjoy on this blog, perhaps by happy accident!

So again, I say welcome!