Wednesday, December 30, 2015


When I was doing some drawer cleaning I came across this sweater. It was one that I loved when I bought it many years ago and I wore it quite a bit. But I haven't worn it in a few years because its short boxy style is no longer in vogue. It was handmade in Bolivia and I hated to just give it to the thrift shop, where most of my no-longer-wanted clothes go.

The crocheted flower was never sewn on, but attached with a big safety pin from the back. I always thought that was amusing.

I thought that if I felted it it would make a nice bag and so I did.

 I washed it twice in very hot water and detergent in the washing machine. Not sure which is which, but it did shrink even more on its second washing.
Felting makes it very stiff and the fibers are so matted together by the felting that you don't have to worry about any fraying or unraveling.

But it does make it very fuzzy, or at least it did with this sweater. I thought I could fix it with my old sweater shaver, which is used for taking pilling off sweaters and other fabrics, but it barley touched this heavy duty fuzz, so I got out some inexpensive safety razors and went to town. I went thru 5 razors! Here you can see the difference on the left side which has been shaved.

 Here's the finished bag. I used all of the body for the bag and the sleeves for the handles, shown below. The bottom of the sweater with its crocheted edging makes the top of the bag. It is a good size, about 14" wide and 11" deep. I made the straps long enough to be a shoulder bag. I only put the flower through one washing and it did shrink a little.

I lined it with a pretty batik and used a different batik for the inside pocket. I always like a bright lining, making it easier to find things inside.

Attractive, but out-of-date sweater made into a cute bag. What do you think?

I haven't had anything to share on Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday, but this week I do, so hop on over and see what's going on there.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Lest we forget what this wonderful season is all about, I share with you this precious little Lladro Holy Family set that my late husband gave me many years ago. They are quite small with Joseph being not quite 4 inches tall. They are meant to be tree ornaments, thus the little hooks, but they get lost on a tree so I just put them on a side table in the living room.

I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

New Santas

I went to Stew Leonard's this morning when they opened at 7 AM to get my holiday groceries. I had seen a segment on TV yesterday saying that this would be the busiest shopping day of the year and I sure didn't want to get caught in that crush. It turned out to be a good shopping experience. I had a pull-thru parking space right in front of the store and whizzed thru my list. 

Before I left I went over to their Christmas shop to see if they still had the Rockette ornament that I had seen the other day. I thought that I would buy one in honor of my niece. She and her family already have several. This one would be for me.

Much to my delight they still had a few left, although not the high kicker I was going to get. To make it ever better, all ornaments were reduced 50%. Very nearby were some international Santas that I had not spotted before,

Isn't she cute? Since she has a Santa costume on, she fits right in with the other Santas.  Hard to tell here, but her costume is all sparkly.

The tag didn't say, but I think he must be German or Austrian judging by the beer stein in his hand and the castle at his feet.

A jolly Irish Santa replete with shamrock, green beer and pot of gold.
Ho, ho, ho!  

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

O Tannenbaum

Just a sampling of beautiful Christmas trees I've seen this season.

Mohegan Sun Resort and Casino. Very tall, perhaps 20 feet or more. Those ornaments at the base are HUGE!

The clubhouse at Sterling Woods, where I live. It's 9 1/2 feet tall and was trimmed by the Landscape Committee, of which I am a member.

The spectacular tree at Rockefeller Plaza in NYC

One of several trees lining the walkway to the big tree at Rockefeller Plaza.

Crystal Chandelier tree in Radio City Music Hall

Alright, not a tree, but my front entrance to welcome you in to see my two trees.

7 1/2 foot tree in my family room trimmed with all Santa ornaments and red balls. Notice Santa tree skirt made by me several years ago.

6 1/2 foot slim tree in my small living room, all trimmed with silver, white and gold ornaments.
Remember to click on any picture to see a bigger view of all. Have a wonderful Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Rockettes

On my last post I told you I would give you my reason for going into NYC yesterday and here it is. My niece (actually my great niece) is a Rockette and 51 members of her extended family and friends met in New York to see her perform.

Let me give some background. Kristen has danced since she was three years old and was also a wonderful ballerina (always a starring role in the local Nutcracker Suite), but by age eight she knew that she wanted to be a Rockette. With a four-plus average all thru high school, she could have gone almost anywhere for college, but she chose the Boston Conservatory in Boston, and of course, majored in dance. For two semesters she was accepted into the Rockette's traveling troupe and performed the Christmas show in Nashville. But this year at age 22, after graduating from college, she was accepted into the New York Troupe.

There are 80 Rockette's that are broken into two groups. There are 6 performances a day, each lasting 1 1/2 hours and they each perform in three a day. There are open auditions held every year and everyone must audition every year, even if they have been in the show before.

Needless to say we are all very proud of our Kristen.  In addition to being a gifted dance, she is a lovely, warm and caring person. She met us in a hallway offstage after the show to give us all hugs and pose with us for pictures. They are not allowed to wear their costumes offstage because they are readying them for the next performance.

Here is Kristen with me in the traditional Rockette pose. There are more that 50 years between us!

Group photo with her aunts. L to R, Diane, Eileen, Lorraine (her mother) Kristen, Dorothy (her godmother) Donna, me, and Nancy.

One of my nieces, Nancy, had a very good camera with a great zoom and she captured this picture. Kristen is the first one in the front row.

This was from a photoshoot at local cupcake shop. Kristen is the one on the far right, getting frosting on her nose.

It was a lovely day in New York. I took the train in and walked about 20 minutes to get to Radio City Music Hall. It was not as cold and windy and predicted and that made for a pleasant walk. I was early so I had time to see the windows at Sake's Fifth Avenue (beautiful!) and see Rockefeller Plaza with its spectacular tree and other trimmings. It was wall to wall people! The Saturday before Christmas, probably one of the busiest days in NewYork.

The show was wonderful! I have seen it twice before, once when I was newly married with my husband and in-laws and then about 10 years ago with a friend. Much of it does not change, but somehow it never gets old. There are always the reindeer, the snowflakes, the toy soldiers (Kirsten was first in line and the first to start falling back), and the magnificent living Nativity scene with live camels and sheep. There was a new-to-me piece with a million Santas, but it was put in a couple of years ago. We all enjoyed it tremendously. This would have been my late sister-in-law's birthday and at her funeral this past fall we decided that we would try to see the show on her birthday in her memory, so it was a little poignant, knowing that she would have loved seeing her granddaughter up there on the stage. We were all sure that she was smiling down on us.

We all went out to dinner afterward, but Kristen couldn't join us since she had two more shows that evening. Her mother found an Irish Pub a couple of blocks from the Hall that could accommodate us all in their third floor room. A nice way to end the day.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2015


As I was walking this morning I was puzzled as to what was on the trees at the end of the street.  As I got closer I realized that they were covered in blossoms, cherry, I think. Really? Flowers in the middle of December in Connecticut? We have been having exceptionally warm days for the past few weeks, in the high 50's and 60's when it normally should be in the 30's. Is this global warming? It sure seems that way. Notice the very green lawn in the background. It does look like Spring, but trust me, this was December 18.

Tomorrow I am going into NYC and was looking forward to the mild weather, but they are predicting a cold, blustery day in the 30's. I guess I'll have to dig out the warm winter coat. It is going to warm up again later in the week and the mild weather will continue thru Christmas. That's good news for holiday travelers, including my son who will be coming from Portland, OR and my sister from Long Island.

Come back in a couple of days and I'll tell you why I'm gong into the city tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

In a Pickle

If you follow my blog, you know how much I love Christmas and how much I love to decorate. I was just thinking the other day that this was the first year that I could remember when I hadn't bought a new ornament. There is usually a Santa that begs to come home with me, knowing that there's always room for one more on the tree. I often buy one while on a trip such as my Hawaiian Santa or my Scottish Santa, but I didn't see anything in Africa.

Nor did I see an ornament that I had to have for my living room tree that is all silver, white and gold. But then yesterday while going thru the checkout line in Marshall's, where they have tons of goodies to entice you as you wait on line, I spotted this pickle.  I vaguely remembered hearing somewhere about the importance of having a pickle on the tree. It was quite inexpensive, in spite of its being glass so I bought it. The story that was on the box tells how German families who trimmed the tree on Christmas Eve (not the day after Thanksgiving as many do now) would hide a pickle ornament amongst the green branches and the other ornaments. On Christmas morning the first child to find the pickle would get an extra present from St. Nicklaus. A charming tradition, I thought, so if you come to my house and can find the pickle on my Santa tree there just might be an extra treat for you.

Friday, December 4, 2015

More buttons

After making that button piece that I showed you awhile back, I knew I wanted to do something more with buttons and thought I would like to do the back of a jeans jacket.  At first I thought that I would use the leftover pinks, reds and yellows from that piece, but thought it would be too garish.  Then I remembered that I had bought a couple of zip-lock bags of buttons at a guild boutique a few years ago so I dug them out.

One quart sized bag marked "cream blend" was $3.00 and it a was true treasure trove.  It was full of gorgeous mostly Mother of Pearl buttons with some plastics thrown in.  I have since gone online and priced some of these carved buttons and now I really know what a huge bargain this was.

Here is the back of the jacket.  It was a little challenging sewing through the denim and getting a good grip.  When you see some of the details below you will think I need some button sewing skill improvement.

This was just a plain Mother of Pearl,  but I loved the luster and simplicity.

These are a few of the etched or carved MOP that I saw on Etsy and other places for a pretty penny.

For the front the jacket I just sewed one special button to one collar point. See the detail below.

This was from my mother's button box and is not Mother of Pearl, but a cream colored bone or maybe even plastic.  I just love it whatever it is.  Look at the detail.  I tried to find something similar online, but was unsuccessful.  If anyone can give me any info, I would be most appreciative.

I haven't linked up with Off the Wall Friday in awhile, but I am this week so go see what some other talented people are doing.