Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Art for Everyone


For a long time, I searched high and low to find my very own vintage palm tree paint by number picture.  Recently, I snagged this beauty.  While there are many opinions about paint by number pictures, and whether or not they constitute  real works of art, I have always been a fan of their easily recognizable style.

An artist named Dan Robbins came up with the idea in the 50’s.  He realized that with a paint by number picture kit, anyone could produce a piece of wall worthy art.  The 1950’s were the perfect time for such an idea.  In post war America, people had more leisure hours to spend on hobbies and  other artistic pursuits.  Robbins teamed up with Max Klein of the Palmer Paint Company, and under the Craft Master Brand, produced the first paint by number kits.  I love the slogan that was printed on every paint by number kit box:

  "Every man a Rembrandt!" 

Critics saw them as an attack on creativity.   In the end though, they became worthy icons of pop culture.

I wish I knew who painted my palm trees.   I do know that my mother’s mom painted a wonderful pair of flamingo paint by number pictures. Are there any of these masterpieces on your own walls?

Monday, February 27, 2012

“Thanks For the Memories”


When I turned my program over to look at the back, that’s what I read.

83 years of memories, to be exact.

Saturday night, we attended the local high school spring musical.  This year, the kids, including several of Amy’s friends, put on an outstanding production of Music Man.  This musical has a very large cast, and requires a big stage.

But here’s the thing.  Music Man, or any other large scale production  like it, cannot be performed at the high school.  The high school does not have an auditorium. Consequently, when high school  musicals are put on, they take place at the middle school, which has the only big enough, and available stage in town.

It was no coincidence that “Music Man” was chosen for this year’s spring musical.  In all likelihood, this is the last big musical the high school will ever perform.  You see, the auditorium’s days are numbered.  Built in 1929, it’s the type of auditorium that reminds me of schools from my own youth, and the school concerts, and assemblies,  plays and musicals that I was a part of.   This particular auditorium is a soaring space designed in an understated but glorious art deco style. It’s an inspiring setting for any young actor or musician. 

But it's old.

This is where I have to get up on my soap box for a minute.  While it’s true that the middle school is aging, and needs repairs, it broke my heart when I found that the plan to build a new middle school includes demolition of the old.  Including the auditorium.

I have a soft spot for old buildings.  I like to see them preserved and cherished.  I know this takes money.   But once a treasure like this auditorium is gone, it’s gone forever.  I’ve watched this happen to other dated structures in town. And every time an old building is demolished, a piece of the history of this town is gone, leaving an incredible sense of loss.  And maybe I am being dramatic, but a bit of this town’s soul disappears too.

So thanks for the memories indeed.  It seems almost inevitable that a year from now the auditorium will gone, and there will no longer be a stage large enough to accommodate high school productions like Music Man.

It’s a monumental loss for this town.   In so many ways.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Not So Easy, After All


There comes a time in the childhood of every self respecting kid, when he or she realizes that a younger brother or sister can be easily led down the garden path. Straight into a life of crime.  It’s really a piece of cake-with an Easy-Bake Oven.

My sister received an Easy-Bake Oven for her birthday.  I turned shades of jealous that I didn’t know existed.   When I was a kid, an Easy-Bake Oven was a highly desirable item to have in one’s  toy collection.  The fact that my sister got the Easy-Bake Oven, and not me, made it that much easier for me to  plan a  kitchen crime spree.  She was also 4 years younger, and 4 years more gullible. 

There was one and only one rule where the Easy-Bake Oven was concerned:  PARENTAL SUPERVSION REQUIRED.

I can’t remember where my parents had to go.  I just remember feeling dizzy with excitement as I watched the family car pull out of the driveway, and saw that opportunity had come calling.   I remember a sense of danger, too.  Knowing we didn’t have much time.

I bet I made my sister plug the Easy-Bake Oven in and turn it on.  I wanted to implicate myself as little as possible.  And I also told her right up front that we weren’t going to bother with any of the little mixes that came with the oven. We were going to make something from SCRATCH.

We worked quickly-though I don’t recall accuracy being a priority-measuring and stirring, and then laid out a dozen tiny cookies.  The Easy-Bake Oven eagerly swallowed the miniature cookie sheet, and we waited, anticipation high, during the few minutes it took to bake our illicit treats.

When the cookies were done, and cooled, we discovered in the very first bite that we had done something terribly wrong.  We had baked a batch of rocks.  Honest to goodness stone cookies. 

I panicked!  What were we going to do?  Part of my original plan had been to eat every bit of the evidence (though at the time I don’t remember cutting the recipe in half, so we are talking hundreds of itty-bitty cookies between the two of us.)  I took the first action that came to mind.  I threw the cookies outside for the birds.

I love birds.  I enjoy watching them come and eat the bird seed we provide for them.  But they let me down that day.  Or maybe they had good intentions of coming to the rescue, but they just couldn’t seem to make any headway when they tried to eat our mistakes.  And so there lay our cookies-out in the yard-in plain sight…

I know that I got in trouble.  Big trouble.  I was probably grounded.  Maybe for life.  But I learned a couple lessons, too.  First, the aroma that filled the house  provided our parents with a pretty powerful clue as to what my sister and I had been doing in their absence.  And second, when it comes to baking, following the recipe really is a good idea.  Because baking powder and baking soda are NOT interchangeable. 

Unless, of course, rocks are what you are shooting for…


Dear readers, I thought I’d repost this today in the hopes of adding a little bit of laughter to your day.  Has it been a long week for you as well?  It sure was for me.  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Handbag Detective


vintage bag

The Unsolved Case

I found this vintage black clutch online a couple weeks ago.  It was not in the best condition, but I didn’t buy it to use it.  I purchased it so that I could study the design.  I felt the style of this clutch would translate well into barkcloth, and the bag cost less to buy than a vintage pattern would have been.  I used to buy lots of vintage dress patterns, but that was before I started designing bags.  Now, most vintage purse patterns are out of my price range. 


I don’t like to tear the vintage bags I find apart.  It seems almost like an act of vandalism to me, and renders the bag worthless.  Instead I try to figure out how a bag was made by looking at its construction, and taking it apart in my mind. I ask myself questions such as, where are the seams?  And how do the pieces appear to be cut?


Case Solved!

This is my first prototype of the black clutch, made up in an apple green 70’s barkcloth-one of those pay dirt finds from Goodwill where I snared well over two yards of fabric for a couple dollars.  I could easily spare a little bit of this fabric, and if my project went completely awry, I wouldn't be out that much. I lined the bag with a black, white and green leopard print cotton.  I had just enough scraps of it left to cut the lining out.


My Report

While this prototype clutch isn’t exactly like the original, I like the way it turned out.  And by going through the steps to make it,  I can now see  exactly how the original was made. 

I like being a handbag detective.  Knowing that at the end of the day, I’ve done my part to keep vintage style alive and well, and safely preserved for future generations.


Maybe I have been watching too many reruns of Hawaii Five-O.

Monday, February 20, 2012

I Love Your Funny Face

The HelperIt’s curious how inspiration strikes.  You just never know where it will come from.  I didn't have a blog post idea for today, until Kona decided to help me out.

I was cleaning up the sewing room this morning, and I had a visitor.  Now Kona is not allowed in the sewing room.  Dog hair and barkcloth don’t mix well.  Try telling her that, though.  So I bought a beaded curtain for the doorway several months ago.  I was hoping that the swinging strands of beads would deter our four legged family member from crossing over the threshold.  Not so.  Stage one.  Howls of displeasure.  And then, stage two.  A furry face peeking in with eyes tightly closed. (Perhaps, she thought that if she didn’t look at the beads, they did not really exist.)  Soon, after being thwarted for weeks, she finally gathered her courage and moved on to stage three, bursting through the curtain one day. After that, I had to start stacking up boxes to keep her out.

Today Kona busted through the bead and box barricade.  She was determined to show me she belonged in the sewing room.  I watched her for a minute, as she picked up stray bits of fabric off the floor, and I decided to be lenient with her.  Let her stay. And then she got a piece of polka dotted cotton stuck in her teeth. 

I think the picture says it all. 

Thanks, dear Kona.  I owe you one.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

New at Snapshot Sailors

navy jumper

I was lucky to find this vintage sailor jumper last week-the perfect prop for showcasing my barkcloth bags.  It was reasonably priced, and in perfect condition, too! 

I’m also excited to introduce these cute little zipper pouches.   I’ve taken actual vintage photographs, copied them onto printable fabric, and then sewn them onto vintage barkcloth. 



I add some vintage buttons…



And a fun anchor zipper pull.  The perfect finishing touches.

I love sewing these zipper pouches!  It’s hard to go wrong with sailors and barkcloth-they are definitely a winning combination!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

True Love

Happy Valentine’s Day, my dear readers!

My friend Crystal from Zinnia Ridge Vintage sent me these wonderful vintage sailor inspired Valentines.

I love the sweet sentiment from days gone by…


 Please don’t leave me holding the Bag!  BE MY VALENTINE!









How come  sailors and Valentine’s Day make the perfect match?

This little gem I found a few months ago sums it up best…


June 26, 1914


Did you know that we are 2 years married today.

Ha Ha



Hugs, and Hershey kisses,


Friday, February 10, 2012

Pet Smarts

kona 2_thumb[2]

Kona, our Border Collie and Australian Shepherd mix, is one clever cookie.  Not too surprising, since both breeds are known for their intelligence.  But still, she amazes us.  Last fall we walked her over to the high school to play Frisbee, and an errant toss-probably by me-sent her beloved rubber saucer over the fence into the baseball field.  She could see her Frisbee, inside the fence, about 4 feet from where she stood, but she knew she could not retrieve it.

To access the baseball field, you have to go through a maze of other fields and fences, which we did.  And Kona, once inside the baseball field, ran straight over to her Frisbee.  We were  stunned! How did she remember where to find it, or even remember she had lost it?   She did not  hesitate or even search.  She just knew exactly where her Frisbee was.

Snow Kona_thumb[2]

So yes, we  knew she was bright.  But last night Kona proved that she is a genius.  Stuart has been helping me build my web page. It is unchartered water for us both.   We were simultaneously watching a Photoshop tutorial, and trying to put into practice what the tutorial was demonstrating.  Success was one step away, but frustratingly, we could not figure out what “tool” the narrator was selecting to achieve what he was demonstrating.

Kona, playing the part of the uninterested onlooker, lay next to where we were working, probably hoping we would give up and take her for a walk.  Suddenly, she jumped up and put a paw on the keyboard.  Like magic, the correct tool appeared!  “Kona!” we exclaimed.  “How did you do that?”

Yes, Kona is one clever cookie.  If only we could  teach her to talk.

Now it’s your turn to brag.  Tell me what makes your own pet exceptional!


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Easy to Love

When it comes to old movies, South Pacific is definitely one of my favorites.  I’ve watched it so many times now, that I’ve lost count. Lush with gorgeous tropical scenery, this Rodgers and Hammerstein classic has a musical score that is packed with memorable songs. 

I hope you enjoy this little number.  There is nothin’ like a bunch of singing sailors, and you know what else? One of these guys even knows how to sew!

Monday, February 6, 2012

What We Need More Of

eveready batteries

For Want of a Nail

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the message was lost.
For want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

Before last Saturday, if I’d rewritten this little piece of wisdom, I’d have entitled it,

For Want of a Battery

For want of a battery, the cordless phone was lost.

For want of a battery, the digital camera was lost.

And my watch?  Well it was just lost.

All changed on Saturday.

We decided to venture over the Cascade mountains-a beautiful drive when the weather is cooperating-which it was, and visit my parents, who live in a more retail rich town than ours.  We had not seen them since August, and we missed them.  We also planned to go to a big box office supply store while we were there, hoping to find the batteries we needed.  Shopping in our town had turned up nothing but blank stares, or well meaning clerks who disappeared mysteriously down “aisle 12” never to be seen again.  Even internet searches proved to be fruitless.

The problem seemed to be that in the years since we acquired our phone and camera, time had marched on and left our makes and models  in the dust.  The exact batteries we needed were no longer made, as new products and new types of batteries came on the scene. We didn’t want to have to buy a new phone and camera.  That just seemed wasteful, when the old were still perfectly good.

And then my parents said three little words.

The Battery Store.

Located conveniently at the end of their street, there was indeed a store devoted entirely to batteries.  You name it, battery wise, and they had it. 

In a matter of minutes, our helpful, and cheerful clerk found the batteries we needed, and also put a new battery in my long lost watch-the battery now dead.  (I’d found my watch earlier in the day, in the bottom of the seldom used bag I brought along.)  Our wonderful clerk even set my watch to the correct time too-she said she couldn’t send me out of the store wearing a watch that had the wrong time on it.  She was courteous, competent, and very knowledgeable about batteries.  And she really and truly seemed to enjoy her job.

The idea of selling batteries, and nothing but batteries, day in and day out, might seem about as interesting as watching the proverbial paint dry.  It could make a person choose to be less than everything our clerk was, and if that is how our clerk felt, she was a darn good actress.

There is so much of our modern life now that depends on batteries. There is no question we need them, and businesses-and clerks-to sell them to us.

But even more importantly, what we really need, are more people like her.

Friday, February 3, 2012

My shop, by any other name…


I have an announcement to make!  After running a shop on Etsy under the name of For the Love of Pete for almost four years, I’ve decided it’s time for a change.  I have a new name!

It was a hard decision.  I don’t warm up to most changes very quickly.  But I’ve always wanted my own website, with my very own web address.  Something I couldn’t do with For the Love of Pete because that domain is taken, and has been for at least 10 years.  Soon, my website, will be up and running!  I also have some creative endeavors in mind-and they will be easier to do with my new name.  I’ll be showing those off very soon as well!

Honoring my Uncle Pete is still very important to me, and remains my most important shop mission.   Recently though, one of Pete’s photos was used in a way I wasn't too happy about.  The internet can be, as my friend Melissa so aptly put  “a vile place that showcases the underbelly of the world.” And so I feel the need to protect Pete too.

group of sailor boys

In the next few days,  the Snapshot Sailors and I have some work to do-like designing that web page, and coming up with some new business cards too.  But I can’t wait!

Happy Friday everybody, and have a great weekend!  See you on Monday:)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Take a Seat

airplane interior

I was going to do some blog posts this week about my amazing, incredible, vintage finds.  You see, last Saturday we took a road trip to the mother of all antique malls- about an hour’s drive from our home.  Shockingly, after browsing for more than that same amount of time, I came up empty handed.    That never happens to me.  I always find something.  Not this time.  Let me just say that the use of the word “antique” in this case was a little misleading. Actually, the word “vintage” would have been misleading too. What I mostly saw was a lot of used stuff.  Not old stuff, just used stuff.

So as those best laid blog post plans went out the window, I found myself shopping for a little inspiration instead.  I was thinking about all of the choices we have to make in life.  Paper or plastic?  Cat or dog?  Scrambled or fried?  And I thought about flying, and the strong preference some people have over the seat they are assigned.  Window, or aisle.

For me, it doesn’t really matter.  There are pros and cons to each.  Window seats are nice if you like to look out at the clouds, or observe take offs and landings.  Once, on a flight to Denver, there were already two people  in my row by the time I boarded the plane.  I had the window seat, but I told the two-seated on the aisle and in the middle-that they could just scoot over.  I didn’t mind.  But they sure did.  No way, I was told, were either of them  sitting by the window.  They were both terrified of flying and did not want to have to look out and see how high off the ground we would soon be.

The aisle is convenient.  You don’t have to climb over anyone else if you need to get up and out of your seat, which I always do.  But on a flight to Honolulu, as I sat in my aisle seat, a woman needed something in her suitcase, which was in the overhead bin-over my head, and I was showered with trail mix.  I spent the entire flight picking peanuts and raisins out of my hair.

So window or aisle? 

Do you have a preference?