Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Precious Little

I think I can squeeze 3 more purses and a few change purses out of the last of this wonderful scenic fabric. Why is this type of fabric so hard to come by? I think there was never very much manufactured - certainly not nearly as much as all of the floral barkcloth that seems to be so plentiful!

I plan to have these remaining bags in my etsy shop on September 7th.

Change purse size piece

Change purse size piece

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Spinnerin Shawl Kit from Hudson's

There is something about that Spinnerin logo I have always loved. It must remind me of my mom's knitting magazines, and strangely it reminds me of my Dad's sailboat too (something about the cap S?). The kit still has the Hudson's tag on it (and is in my Etsy shop).

When I was in 6th grade my parents told me that we were going to Detroit for the day to go to Hudson's. I had like $20 and I was daydreaming about what I might buy for myself. This was right around the time that "A Chorus Line" was coming to the Fisher Theater in Detroit and I was so disappointed when my Dad told me that the tickets were sold out. As we pulled up the the Fisher Theater sign my Mom turned around to get my reaction to what we were actually doing - but saw none. I saw the sign but it just didn't register. I figured Hudson's was in the Fisher building. We had lunch (my dad told the waiter not to say anything about the show) and it wasn't until we were actually in the lobby of the theater that I realized that we were going to see A Chorus Line. It is still one of the happiest memories of my life. The show was stunning - even at that age I was blown away, and moved more than I can say. The funny thing is that on the way home it dawned on me that I didn't really have anyone to tell the story to - no one I knew would understand what it meant to me to see that show. But that didn't take anything away from what a thrilling experience it was. Telling the story now is always fun - and a few people even know what I am talking about.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

We Are Gamers

We play a lot of board games in our house. Sorry was popular a couple of years ago but the kids have moved on (I still love to play). We were on the lookout for a decent version of Life, and thought we had found it in a version from 2000. After playing just once it was apparent that everyone ends up with a lot of money - almost every time you get a Life card you get at least $50,000 - and there are few if any downturns. We also have the Simpsons version from 2004, but that one obviously bears even less resemblance to real life. I read an interesting article about Milton Bradley in the New Yorker recently (you can read a condensed version here) I was especially surprised to read that in the original version of the game there was not only the chance that you would fail miserably at Life, you might even commit suicide!

While Mae and I were thrift shopping in Saginaw last weekend we found the 1960 version, officially endorsed by Art Linkletter (it says so right on the box!). We are having a lot of fun playing this version of the game. The kids enjoy it more too - they seem to recognize that it a more varied version of the game (Mae likes that you can place side bets on the number board, a feature long gone from more modern versions). If you are dirt poor at the end you can bet whatever money you have, or even your car - just place it all on one number on the number board, and spin... if your number comes up you are the Millionaire Tycoon and you win the game, if not you lose and sit out the rest of the game. Of course the directions are printed on the inside of the cover so they can never be lost - another sensible idea that seems to have disappeared.

I'm looking forward to when the kids are a little older to play another of my favorite board games - Scrabble. In the meantime I think we have a few more years of Life, Cadoodle, and Parcheesi.

You can see more of our vintage games here.

Remember this one?

Where It All Began

I went home for my 25th High School Reunion last weekend. I also had time to do a little tour of my old haunts. I started thrift shopping at 14 on the West Side of Saginaw. Both of the places I frequented are still open. Bethesda thrift shop has expanded and is just terrific. Nothing is very expensive and they have a well organized sewing section with a huge cache of patterns. I found a couple of gems (50s bouses) which I will post soon and make as soon as possible!

The reunion itself was so much fun. I just felt great and enjoyed talking with people and catching up. I had so much fun with many of the wives of guys from my class. Kim Dittenbur and Michelle Anderson were just a blast. They were really interested in my business and my blog, so I hope they visit! When I told Kim that Darren was my boyfriend in 3rd and 4th grade she marched me right over for a photo - op.
Darren Dittenbur - 4th grade boyfriend :)

Somehow Steve Anderson gleaned my political leanings (way left) from our limited conversation about said topic and was certain that Michelle and I had a lot in common (we did!). I also have to mention another crush from years ago, John Mohn. He and Steve remembered things about me from middle school that really surpised me: I was kinda tough and the boys were afraid of me. Everyone stood around talking until the restaurant started folding up the chairs, turning on the lights trying to get rid of us. If you have a reunion coming up I can't recommend going strongly enough.
Me and Steve Anderson.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Vacation Rainout

The kids and I came to Saginaw for my 25th high school reunion on Saturday (which was a blast - more on that soon). On Sunday we planned to go to Pentwater for a few nights of camping with my parents. We woke up to rain on Sunday and the forcast calls for nothing but rain all week! It's turning out fine, we've had more time to visit with my brother Tim and his family, and the kids really enjoy their grandparents (and Poochie the shnoodle) no matter where they are. This is the second time this summer that rain has ruined our camping plans, the first time we were rained on all night - the tent completely flooded. Fortunately we were at my brother and sister in law's place so we were able to take refuge in their cottage!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Pretty Party Dress

Pretty Party Dress, originally uploaded by Viteen.

Isn't this just lovely? I know I'll never make this dress and I hate for it to just sit in a box. This pattern and my sale yesterday of the Johnny Appleseed to my friend on Flickr finally got me motivated to open an Etsy shop. I really have to be clubbed over the head before initiating something new in "technology" . Now that I've done it of course I'm thinking "Well THAT was EASY!" Right now I just have a few patterns there, but I think I'll also put some bags and hats up soon.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Johnny Appleseed Purse

I was out with the girls last night and my friend Robyn was admiring my purse (see below). However, she said she would like to see the label on the inside instead of the outside. So today I dug up this image of Johnny Appleseed. It does depend on the bag. If the label can become an interesting part of the design, I place it on the outside. With the Johnny Appleseed the picture is so complete and lovely that I didn't want to distract from that. Please comment if you have an opinion about label placement: inside or out? (I have enough fabric to make one more Johnny bag. I can customize the inside with whatever little pockets you like. Send me and email and I can give you more info on this bag.) UPDATE - I sold this second Johnny Appleseed to one of my flickr friends - I'm so excited to make it for someone I know!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Delectable Mountains (Unfinished Business #2)

This is a quilt I started about 15 years ago. I got the pattern out of an early 90s Better Homes and Gardens Quilt book. The original pattern was done in blue and white only, but I knew that would drive me crazy - I crave variety. I designed it in blues, greens, pinks, yellows and browns. With the yellow on the top and bottom to symbolize the sun rise and set - a full day in the mountains!

This was in the days of B.C. - before children - when I could spend hours hand piecing - I used to love that. I think at this point I am saving this top to finish for a couch quilt - when the kids are a little older.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Unfinished Business #1

I started this quilt about 3 years ago for a friend who was having trouble getting pregnant. I thought of her while I was working on it - wished for her to conceive. I felt it was my way of creating positive energy toward her getting pregnant.

That's the layout I created in Illustrator. I wanted the squares to be a little larger than the pattern I had, and I designed my own color scheme. (I checked them off when I finished them, but somehow I don't seem to have them all - I was probably getting ahead of myself!)

Somehow I lost interest in it. How does that happen? Other projects called my name (namely Practically Necessary at that point). Well I am happy to say that my friend did finally get pregnant, and last December had the most adorable baby girl they named Piper Rose. (You can see the diaper bag I made for her here. Well this quilt is calling my name (from it's box in the basement) so I thought if I brought it up and layed it out I might feel inspired to work on it. As soon as I pressed the squares I felt that love of piecing, of pretty prints coming together - so hopefully I can get back to work on it and present it as a present for Piper's first birthday.

On the bottom left are 2 squares that I made that no longer fit into the color scheme (I kept adjusting it, even after I started working on it) and the pieces for the remaining squares. All I have to do is put them together - piece the blocks together and... oh there's still a lot of work to do! How to stay motivated??!!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Today's Project

Another sign that I might be ready for summer to end - I had to make a new hat. This one is made from velvet I thrifted, I got some great green velvet at the same time. I think I might make a vest too - I love vests. The lining is one of 2 prints that end up in most of my recent hats. You can see my other hats and linings here.

I really love to make hats, this one's not too difficult (until you attach the top to the band, then you have to be pretty careful) and I just like to have as many hat options as possible since I wear one most every day once it's cold (I wear them in the summer too, but those are mostly store bought).

Friday, August 10, 2007


Well now that my work tote bag is done I think that might mean it's time to go back to work. It's been a great summer off, and I still have 2 more weeks to enjoy.

The interior features a coffee slot, with a pocket. A large pocket/divider for a 15" laptop and a small pocket for change or other small stuff (I put my CTA pass there). If you are interested in purchasing a bag like this one, please email me at info@practicallynecessary.com

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Bag Interior

Here's how the interior looks before I put it together. The first 2 shots are of the small pocket and the medium pocket with the coffee holder (critical!). The small pocket on top is a vintage embroidered something or other, and while it seems a shame to put it on the inside of a bag, at least it's being used - and I'll enjoy seeing it! The bottom shot is of the divider/computer sleeve. That one is vintage fabric, given to me by my friend Molly - it was a curtain that went around the bottom of her mom's vanity.

My New Bag

I started this bag in July, and I completed the outside yesterday. This might mean that I am getting ready to go back to work. It's been a wonderful summer - the kids and I visited the local pools 32 times (we kept a journal). I spent a lot of time with my friends, and working on my apron biz, making whatever I felt like making, doing nothing... and I'm really looking forward to enjoying the last few weeks. I'm babbling...OK, I'm in shock, I'm not ready for summer to end.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Caroline Full

I just finished up an order for Michelle in New York State–the Caroline Full apron. This is one of my earliest designs. This striped green fabric is just terrific. My friend Sue has one of these, and she says it's a great Christmas apron that you can wear year-around. I wanted to show the inner bib, and how it looks with the little daisy button. Incidentally, the Caroline half apron is one of my day to day favorites, I love the feel of the fabric, and it looks clean much longer than it really is!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Cherry Wine Cozy

I just finished the companion apron for "Jeny" - the cherry pocket apron made for a gal getting married in August. The cherries are a pocket, and most of the details are copied in miniature. I don't have a mini-label however, so I think I'll attach it to the inside of the bib top. This small apron design will only work with some of my fabrics - small prints and solids will work, larger prints wouldn't translate to this small size.