Thursday, May 31, 2012

Patchwork Indie Art & Craft Festival + Soap Tart Giveaway

This past weekend I went to the Patchwork Indie Art & Craft Festival in for the very first time and I had a ball!

Patchwork is a free indie arts and crafts fair created by Nicole of Random Nicole and Delilah of A Road Less Traveled  and happens twice a year in three SoCal locations:  Long Beach, Santa Ana, and Culver City. So if you're in the LA area on June 10th you might pop by the Culver City Patchwork!

I met some truly talented artists and I wanted to share some of their unique creations and friendly faces with you.

My librarian's heart went pitter-pat when I saw the handmade felt card catalog that Kelso, of Kelso Doesn't Dance made for her booth and I just loved her upcycled Golden Books notebooks, wallets, and notepads.  Check out her cool New York subway map wallet.

Kelso Doesn't Dance, Patchwork Indie, Serendipity Handmade blog

 Cynthia Morehouse's jewelry is fun, funky, spiritual, and lighthearted all at the same time:

I'm particularly in love with her medal charm bracelets.  You can see more of her colorful and exuberant designs at her Facebook page.

Angie of Collisionware couldn't be sweeter and her handmade aprons, kitchen mitts, wallets, and potholders couldn't be cuter:

Her kitschy Pick Your Stache napkin is so fab, and how can you not love this Pirate O'Malley oven mitt?

I also have to give a shout out to Angela of Hephzi Creations and Claudia of Mi Bazaar Latino who shared a booth, because their super-cute jewelry and accessories made me swoon.

Finally, I met the lovely Carmen Tunis of Soap Tart and discovered her wonderful line of handcrafted all-natural and organic soaps:

Her soap is totally fresh, flirty, and fabulous!  The Cheeky Cheeky Chocolate soap smells good enough to eat, but the Tangerine Honey Pie is my favorite.


And that leads me to our giveaway!  Carmen was kind enough to offer you, dear readers, a scrumptious little gift package of four Tangerine Honey Pie soaps, a great exfoliating soap mitt for smoothing away your rough spots, and some refreshing Rose Water Toner in a purse-sized mister:

To enter:  just like the Soap Tart Facebook page and then leave a comment here with your contact info. (re: your email address)! This giveaway is open to readers worldwide.  Comments are open until June 8th at 11:59 Pacific Time.

Additional entries, just leave a comment for each action:
  • Become a new follower of  the Soap Tart blog via Google Friend Connect
  • Follow me on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway (be sure to use @SerendipityVint in the tweet)
  • Blog about this giveaway (be sure to leave a link to the blog post in the comment)

Winner will be chosen by random number, as always, and announced on June 9th.  Good luck!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Madison Avenue Monday: Inspiration in Every Yard

Just celebrating Memorial Day with a picnic-themed MAM!  Have a great day.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Backyard Co-op Victory Garden

via eBay
In mid-April two friends and I started a cooperative organic garden in my backyard, a.k.a.
The Backyard Co-op Victory Garden. 

It's a creative effort to eat locally and organically (and incidentally, this garden is one of my major life distractions right now). 

We don't have to live with rationing in 2012 so you might ask what exactly are we gaining victory over?  High produce prices, huge carbon footprints, pesticide, and lack of taste in supermarket produce.

via The Victory Garden of Tomorrow poster project by Joe Wirtheim

My husband and I have a typically Southern California tiny backyard (because lots for houses built after 1970 here are SMALL) and an equally tiny bed for growing veggies.  We're also growing tomatoes and bell peppers in containers:

A tiny new lemon growing on our small tree:

In the bed are two zucchini squash, two string bean plants, two green onion (scallion) plants, some Italian oregano, and a basil plant. I've never grown zucchini before and I find the blooms to be so beautiful.

Here are a couple of photos of the Squash Monster, or the largest of the two zucchini plants and a couple of slender new string beans:

As May draws to a close I am amazed at the growth in the garden in little over a month.  Dear readers, have you planted a garden this year?

~ P.S.  I'm participating in a group giveaway over at Modern Modest Beauty!  Head on over and enter by Saturday, there's loads of prizes! ~

Monday, May 21, 2012

Madison Avenue Monday: Jammed Zippers and Split Seams

A really cute ad for Talon brand zippers and thread.

Though I do think the ad man or woman slipped a bit with the props the folks hold in the background.  One gentleman holds a paper where the headline reads "Give up or be slaughtered."  Scary!

From Singer Sewing Fashions, Summer '69

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Variety of Fortunate Finds

I went to two estate sales last week over the past two weeks because I knew that they had vintage sewing patterns.  Now you know I'm de-stashing but vintage patterns are a weakness.  It's not like I need more of them but it's so hard to pass them by....

As it's now estate and garage sale season I'm planning to keep a balance of going to one every so often and not every single week.

I found the cutest apron pattern, McCall 1279 from 1946:

I  had to hunt through a lot of scattered pattern pieces that were separated from their envelopes to find this one.  It was worth the extra effort.  I don't have an envelope or the flower transfer but it was still too cute to pass by.  Isn't the bib on View A unusual?  It's now on my list of sewing projects so you'll be seeing it sometime.

I miss the thrill of the hunt and the serendipity of finding an unexpected treasure.  I found about fifteen 1950s and 1960s vintage knitting patterns at one sale and some of the designs are just amazing.  You've seen some of the ads for them before as part of Madison Avenue Monday:

And I now have a cute 1960s-era tissue case for my purse (actually, the lovely Karen of Jenny and Pearl, found a whole set of these and was kind enough to give me one even though we had just met!  Visit her blog because she's having a great giveaway right now):

I found two yards of a very 1960s psychadelic  border print from Starward fabrics.  This is a photo of the lower border.  Amazing, no?

And I found this fabulous Glide-Tex pressing cloth from the 1940s is in perfect condition. I may even break out my iron and ironing board (how likely is that?)!  More about this one in an upcoming post because the how-to-iron booklet inside is so cute:

I couldn't post all of this sooner because this past week or so has been one of those unexpected weeks when I ended up being away from the blog . I have recurrent migraines and they keep me from sitting at the computer long enough to post or really do much besides check my email briefly.  And I have to wear sunglasses when I do that because of the light from the monitor!

Anyway,  what are you up to this weekend?  Are you going thrifting?  Or are you going to indulge in a little crafting time?  If you've got a project or a great find you want to share, I want to see it!  Join my new Flickr group and show us your stuff!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mother's Work Is Never Done, a Tribute to Moms by Richard Scarry

I went looking for a gift the other day, and in doing so found a new copy of What Do People Do All Day? by Richard Scarry.  It was one of my absolute favorite books in the world as a young child.  The artwork is fun, bright, cheery and amazingly detailed as Scarry gave children a peek at the work-a-day world of making clothes, growing food, baking bread, building roads, and more. 

You can see how beat up well-loved my copy is compared to a brand-spanking new book:

What Do People Do All Day, 1968 vs 1979 abrdiged version, at Serendipity Handmade

I noticed that the newer edition is much shorter. I was surprised to find that four five of the chapters have been removed.  My copy is a first-edition published in 1968. The only edition of this book that you can buy today is the 1979 abridged edition.  How mysterious!  Why abridge a rather popular children's book? What could be wrong with it?

To start, the endpapers with some of the character art have been removed.  In it Scarry drew the residents of Busytown.  I agree that children really don't need to see characters like this anymore:

Spinster Susie, from What Do People Do All Day at Serendipity Handmade blog
Spinster Susie is literally a "spinster" of cotton into thread,
in the "Cotton and How We Use It" chapter (also removed)
However, the chapters about coal and electricity, the water treatment plant, and Sgt. Murphy the Busytown policeman were also removed.  Perhaps the technology in those chapters were a little dated, but frankly most (if not all) of the technology in the other chapters is also outdated.

Ok, but why remove Mother's Work Is Never Done, the chapter about a stay-at-home-mom?  SAHMs still existed in 1979 when the abridged version was published, and they were still working very hard.

Certainly more women with children entered the workforce in the late 1970s than in the 1960s when this chapter was written.  I imagine that perhaps it may not have been politically correct in the late 1970s to depict a woman / wife / mother / girls in a traditional female role.  In some ways this chapter does reinforce traditional roles.  Scarry does have Daddy Pig and Harry being served breakfast in this chapter, but later Harry rather un-traditionally for the time helps with the housework.  

Personally, I think Scarry was trying to equalize what was traditionally regarded as "women's work" when he wrote this chapter. Even today it's possible that a chapter like this one can help children (and adults) realize just how hard a SAHM works all day, and that the work is equal to the work that her partner does. 

Mother's Work is Never Done from What Do People Do All Day?

Mother's Work is Never Done from What Do People Do All Day?

Mother's Work is Never Done from What Do People Do All Day?

Mother's Work is Never Done from What Do People Do All Day?

Mother's Work is Never Done from What Do People Do All Day?

What do you think?  Is this chapter too dated for 2012?

Either way, I would just like to say Happy Mother's Day
to all you mothers out there, SAHM or not,
and thank you 
because your work really is never done!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Madison Avenue Monday: Spring Treat

Although the fashion is nothing out of the ordinary, the over all mood of this ad charmed me with its cheerful celebration of spring. 

From Vogue Knitting Book, Spring-Summer 1961

Friday, May 4, 2012

Ladybug Needle Case Tutorial

Finally, the spring tutorial is here!

UPDATE: I dreamed up this ladybug-inspired needle case after creating a project in sewing class from a vintage needlecase that was shaped and constructed similarly to the I created below.  The pattern for the needlecase and the instructions on how to construct this needlecase are of my own creation.

And of course, the ladybug embellishment/design is my own original creation.

So please feel free to make these for personal use but no selling allowed, ok?  This includes similar variations on my original design.  Thank you.

This little guy makes an excellent travel sewing kit if you pre-load some hand needles with different color threads and sew in a couple of buttons (see the picture at the bottom of the post for the a few of the notions I tucked into mine).

So let's get started!



  • Wool felt.   Do not use Eco-fi or craft felt for this project.  I experimented with it because it is a cheap option, but you'll only have  a hot mess when you're done.  Craft felt is 100% acrylic and not flexible enough for this project.  Plus the lanolin left in wool felt will help protect your needles from rust during storage.

    One-quarter yard each of red and black is plenty.  Or one 8 1/2 x 11 sheet red and two 8 1/2 x 11 sheets black. Wool felt comes in a variety of options.  100% wool felt is incredibly expensive so I used a 35% wool blend felt and it worked well for this project.

  • Construction paper or card stock or scrap paper, any color.  One sheet will do.
  • Sewing pins.
  • Ruler
  • White chalk for marking.
  • Red and black spools of thread.
  • Craft or fabric glue.
  • Scissors.
  • A pencil or pen.
  • Black Velcro dots.  I like the sticky adhesive kind.
  • Optional:  White stamp pad for marking circles.  You can also use a stencil and chalk or another method that you prefer.
Step One: Make a Pattern

First we need to make two pattern pieces in order to cut out our felt.  You'll need to make an 8-inch circle first.  There are several methods you can use:  a plate, a stencil, a decide.  I traced around a small Pyrex bowl:


Open it up, and you have a flower circle.  (So cute!):

By the way, a standard coffee filter is also about 8 inches wide.  You can also use that as a pattern template, but glue it to something heavy like construction paper because they are very flimsy.

Now create a little "molehill" out of construction paper using the measurements below.  This will make the tab closing for your needle case:

Tape it to the back of your flower circle and your pattern is finished:

Step Two:  Cut and Mark

Now cut out your felt.  This is self-explanatory so I'm not posting photos.  A word of advice:  use a lot of pins to keep your pattern from slipping around on the felt.  Cut out one flower circle in the red felt and one in black felt.  Don't throw away your scraps, we'll be using them later.

Fold the black felt in half as shown to find the middle of circle:

Mark lines as shown with chalk.  Use your ruler as a guide:

Now use your stencil or your stamp pad on your scraps to create some felt circles. I used an old prescription medicine bottle to stamp these as it was about 1" in diameter:

Make 12 circles if you want it to look like mine and cut them out. Trim down about four of the circles to about half the size of the larger circles.  (Ladybugs' spots vary in size, ya know).

Cut out a narrow 8" strip of felt that is slightly wider at the bottom as shown below.

Trace around the "molehill" tab section of the pattern with chalk and cut one piece of black felt as shown below:

Step Three:  Sew

Ok, now we're ready to sew!

Pin the two felt flower circles together.  Felt tends to slip so make sure it's secure.  Thread your machine with the red thread.  First, sew along the chalk lines that you just marked.

Then carefully sew around the edges of the design, about 5/8" from the edge, following the scalloped pattern.  You may want to use chalk to draw in the seam line as a guide.  After sewing, simply brush away all of the chalk with your hands.  When you are finished it will look like this:

If necessary, trim any edges that look a little funky so the red and black felt is even.

Add just the one velcro dot to the middle of your tab at the top right now.  Tack this down with just a few hand stitches or with your machine using black thread.  Don't worry about it showing on the other side, we're going to cover that up later.

Step Four:  Glue!

Now to make the case look like a (stylized) ladybug.  I thought this part was the most fun!  Use this photo of the fully-opened back of the needle case as a guide:

Turn your needle case over and glue the long strip of felt down the middle of the case. Trim off any excess at the top.

Glue the "molehill" tab on top.  This creates a "head" for your ladybug.  Using black thread, stitch along the very bottom of the black tab to secure it either by hand or machine, it's up to you.

Now decide where to place your spots.  Avoid gluing the felt circles along the stitching lines because these are actually going to be your fold lines when you close up the case. Be sure to glue these down securely and let them dry before folding the case.

Finally, place a black velcro dot in the at the very bottom of the case, in the middle of the black strip.  Tack this down with a few stitches by hand or machine:

And that's it!  Your needles and notions will be kept as "snug as a bug in a rug" (where does that saying come from anyway?):

To fold it up, pinch in the middle as shown here:

And close the tab over the front to secure.

If you'd make one I'd love to see it!  Share a link at the bottom of the post or join my new Flickr group, Serendipity Vintage & Handmade!  All creative projects welcome.

If you like this tutorial I'd love to hear from you.  Please leave a comment below.