Thursday, September 23, 2010

Inadvertent Collections

Once my Grandmother told me, "If you have two of something you can call it a collection." Under those stipulations I have a large collection of shoes, clothes, jewelery, and sewing supplies. I don't have many real collections, but the two that I do have came to me quite accidentally. My first is my collection of beaded purses. I began inadvertently collecting them in middle school.

My first beaded purse was acquired one rainy Saturday afternoon when a friend, Lexi, and I went with her Mom, Cindy, to an antique shop. I spotted the beaded purse in a case and was enthralled. I loved the intricate bead work and the mix of white and cream beads. I knew I had to have it. I am not sure how much the purse cost but I do remember that I didn't have enough money to buy it and Cindy was gracious enough to step in and provide the rest of the money. I love that purse and still use it for special occasions such as my high school prom, and several of the weddings I've been to.
My second and third purses were also given to me by Cindy. She gave me the black one as a Christmas present a few months after she had helped me pay for the first one. I love this one as well, but the long beaded handle is fragile so I do not use it.
The gray sequined was a birthday gift from Cindy. I wish I still had the card that accompanied the purse, but I have long since lost it. Fortunately, I remember most of what it said. Cindy wrote that one of her aunts (I believe) had used the purse for many years and had given it to her a few months prior. She said that her aunt was spunky and fun and she knew that I embodied those characteristics and should have the purse and continue to use it for fun outings. I would like to think that I have lived up to the expectations, the sequined purse has been my companion on many 21st birthday outings, and two bachelorette parties.

The other white purse as well as the tiny white pouch were purchased at another thrift store on an outing with my Mum and the fish pouch was a Christmas gift from my Mum.
In high school I displayed the purses on a wall in my room. Six years later I finally have space in our new apartment to display them once more. I love having them hanging up for all to see. I especially like that they remind me of Cindy, who was a very generous and thoughtful woman.

My second collection just became a collection yesterday. On the way home from work I noticed a sidewalk sale and saw a vase that looked a lot like one I had at home. The first one I bought at my aunt's yard sale back in June for 75 cents. This one was rather dirty so I got it for 25 cents. When I got home I cleaned the second one up and placed it on the shelf next to the first one, low and behold they were exactly the same. This absolutely baffled me until I looked online and found 10 that were also exactly the same. According to my grandmother's saying I now have a collection of milk glass vases. They might be making a special appearance at our wedding next summer. They are mostly for decoration/ accessorizing, since Charlie would probably go into anaphylactic shock if I ever brought flowers into the apartment.
Those are my two collections. What do you collect?


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Words From My Mum

After I post anything on my blog I typically check religiously to see if anyone has commented. Last night was no different. Except that when I did check and surprise surprise found not one but two comments I was very happy. But what made me even more happy was reading the special comment that my Mum left. I felt that it was too special to leave hidden in the comments so I am publishing it here:

"To all you folks out there who follow Lauren's blog, I am her mother. If you haven't been following this since the beginning, go back to her first post about acquiring her 1930's sewing machine and you will get a clearer picture of my history. I've not said much in the past but now I shall speak.
It is one of the greatest pleasures of my life to read these posts and see what a wonderful young woman my daughter has become, to me a dream come true and worth every second of hardship, argument(s), rage, and discontent that we have afflicted upon one another at some time along this journey.
My Grandmother (the one who gave Lauren her sewing machine) was the most talented craftsperson I ever met and a great role model for me. My grandparents owned a five and dime store, started in the 1930's, in the midst of The Great Depression, until they retired in the early 1970's. One of the many things they sold was fabric. That sewing machine, you know which one I mean, was used to alter many a dress to make my Grandmother's customers happy and confident about what they were wearing. During my junior high and high school years I gained a real interest in sewing and was extremely pleased with the deal my Grandmother offered me. Her offer was as follows.. if you want to make your own clothes the fabric is free, if you don't want to make your own clothes you will have to buy them (cut rate of course). What a motivator plus, if I screwed something up really badly, as I did back then, I could just rip the object in half and forget about it! (I really only did that once and I never told my Grammie). Over the course of time I have made many accomplishments with the/a sewing machine...a three piece suit for Lauren's father, many, many clothes for myself and my children, excellent Halloween costumes, a wedding gown for a friend, a wedding gown for myself, a beautiful dress for Lauren as maid of honor, a prom dress for Lauren like no other and now I am about to make a wedding gown for my lovely daughter. I feel so honored to have been asked to make this dress. It will be beautiful, she will be beautiful, my Grandmother will be smiling down from Heaven and I'll be lying on the ground crying my eyes out but, that's another story so maybe I should start my own blog. I love you Lauren."

Isn't that the sweetest thing you've ever read? My mum and I have certainly,as she mentioned, had some fights and rough patches, but I am very happy that we've managed to come out intact on the other end. I am also so happy to have someone who was patient enough to teach me how to sew and to now have someone knowledgeable to talk to about sewing. I can remember many summer days spent sewing away then anxiously waiting for her to come home from work to help me fix a mistake or show me how to sew a zipper or button hole. Some of my fondest memories of my Mum involve me sitting in the sewing room watching her sew and talking. I am just glad that I make her proud and I hope she knows that I am grateful for all that she has done for me and all that she has taught me, and also that I love her.

Lastly, I have finished one of the two additions to Charlie's quilt. The engagement date is proving to be trickier than I had expected.

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Charlie's Quilt

A few years ago I made Charlie a quilt. I remember my Mum once saying something along the lines of; if you love someone you should make them a quilt. Or maybe it was; if you love someone you won't mind putting a lot of effort into making them a quilt. Or something like that. This motto, or potential motto, if I could remember it, applied to my situation 2 years ago. I had just graduated from college but unlike my friends I couldn't go out a find a career because I was starting grad school. So like any college grad without a job I moved in with my Grammy. I had a part time job, and a gazillion weddings to go to but I just felt like I needed something else to do with my time.

Also, at that time Charlie had moved back to Massachusetts to do an internship and then once the summer was over he was going back to school to finish up his under-grad degree. This meant that we were "apart" for 6 months (I say "apart" because we still saw each other on some weekends and also at the gazillion weddings we went to.) Any-who, while thinking of something to do with my spare time I remembered what my Mum had said and decided that it was the perfect time to show Charlie how much I loved him and make him a quilt.

I ended up letting him in on the secret and even letting him pick out the pattern. Which is how we ended up with a quilt with houses and trees on it. Charlie is a woodsman by nature and I should have known he would pick the one pattern in the store with trees. In order to make the quilt more sentimental, because lets face it, sentimental is my middle name, I embroidered addresses on a few of the houses to represent the all of the places we had lived, dorm room numbers, apartment numbers and our first apartment together. I also made a few of the tree trunks look like someone had carved into them and added the date we started dating and my favorite part "CT+ LC".
I love the hand stitching. A true labor of love. I have no idea how long I spent hand quilting but I can tell you that my Grammy and I watched an awful lot of Project Runway and 17 Kids and Counting while I stitched away. (This was two years ago so there were only 17 kids, not whatever number they are at now...21 maybe?)

My other favorite part is this bear. Charlie and I went to The University of Maine and the mascot was a black bear so I wanted to have a bear on the quilt. I joked with him once the quilt was done that making the bear square took me longer than the rest of the quilt. Even though it took me forever to make and I can remember ripping out stitches left and right, and shelling out expletives left and right, I love it. It reminds me of who we were and where we met.

Oh, I almost forgot my other most favorite part of the quilt. I stitched this into the top so Charlie could see it every night when he went to bed:

I asked him if he liked looking at it when he used to use the quilt and his response was; "No it was always dark when I went to bed so I never saw it." Oy! My talents are wasted.

I realized the other day that since we have moved and also have gotten engaged there are more important dates and addresses to add to Charlie's quilt. Hopefully I can finish that up tonight. Embroidering a quilt that is already put together without the stitches showing on the back is a huge pain.

Off to stitch. Too bad I can't watch trashy TV with my Grammy as I work.


I'm Not Dead.

Charlie asked me last night if I wondered if my blogging friends thought I had died since I have been away so long. I sure hope not! But just in case here is a post to satisfy your interests and let you know I am still alive, and kind of sewing.
Things I've been doing:
1. Working, lots.
2. Running, lots.
3. Hiking.

4. Buying new furniture!
5. Hanging out with my friend Cooper who likes to ride in the car sitting on your shoulder, I hear it's the best view.

6. Enjoying the last bits of summer at Sculptured Rocks. (If you live or are driving anywhere remotely near Groton NH on a sunny warm day I highly recommend stopping by this geological wonder.)
7. Spending time with great friends.
8. Some hand sewing/ mending of a special quilt. More to come soon.

Happy Wednesday!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I Survived!

Oh hi there! I have been a naughty blogger and haven't posted anything remotely interesting in over a month. And this post will probably be pretty boring as well.

I am just stopping by to tell you that I have survived my first week of work as an adult. I only cried once and it was within the privacy of my own home and my crying only lasted about 30 seconds then I managed to pull it together. How many times did I feel like crying you ask? About 23, but who is counting? Oh, and the principal thought I was a student using the copier. What matters is that the work week is over, I have a 4 day weekend, my friends are coming to visit, and I get to see my family. And also there are only 176 days left of the school year!

Anyways, since I have not sewn anything lately, except a purse that I gave away prior to taking any photos (oops), I decided to write a list, mostly for my benefit, of things I want to/ have to sew.
  1. A tote bag to carry my things to and from work. Did I mention that I can walk to work? Pretty awesome huh? Except on days like today when walking home in 93 degree heat with no shade carrying 2 huge binders makes me think my skin is going melt off of my bones.
  2. A lunch box. I bought some cool vinyl fabric over my vacation that I had planned to make into a lunch box for the first day of school to go with my tote bag, but that didn't happen. I still can't find a good pattern/ tutorial online for an insulated zippered lunch box. I'll have to keep looking.
  3. Curtains curtains and more curtains. Some for the kitchen, to let the light in but hide the yucky spider webs and spiders (eeww!) Some for the sewing room. Charlie and I spent 20 minutes putting up a curtain rod then hung the old curtains we had and realized that they were 4 inches too short! Erg! So now I must make more.
  4. A wedding present for my cousin and his soon to be wife. I have yet to figure out what to make them, but the wedding is quickly approaching so I best get on that. This is the project I really want to work on, yet no ideas are coming my way. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
  5. Another quilt, from a whole stack of Voile fat quarters I bought a few weeks ago from the Anna Maria Horner line Little Folks. Have any of you touched this fabric yet? It is to die for. It's so soft, when I touched it the fabric just seemed to yell; "Lauren make a quilt out of us!" I was a little hesitant to buy materials for another quilt, especially with so much fabric piling up already, and with my bank account dwindling. However, Charlie stepped in and said; "well if you put it on your credit card you'll have your first pay check before the bill comes." It's a good thing he isn't going to grad school for personal finance!
Isn't is pretty? Now I just need to find a pattern. Oh, and maybe get some sleep. All of this late night blogging is getting exhausting!

Happy Weekend!

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