The Wannabe Craftster

The Highs and Lows of a Fashionista and Craftster Wannabe

Bethany Lutheran Church Garage Sale

I’m so very, very glad the weather wasn’t bad for the Bethany Lutheran Church Garage Sale. I’m not sure how long they’ve had this planned, but I believe it was entered into my Palm Pilot last month. Hopefully, they raised a great deal of money. What a nice bunch of folks. And, boy did we have fun!

Sign at Bethany Lutheran Church

I took my 9yo son with me, because….well, I just like to, and secondly, he’s a better bargain hunter than I am. I explained to him that there were advantages to showing up late (sellers don’t want to pack up a lot of stuff and are willing to let it go, IF it will go, at a really, really good price) and advantages of showing up early (the best stuff often goes first). Feast your eyes on the find of the day. Yes, he actually found a scooter for sale! He was on cloud nine and later declared it to be the best day of his life.

Garage Sale Gold

I didn’t do too shabby, either. I was really pleased with my lovely juice glasses and mugs. And, I got them from the nicest lady named Debbie who loves to paint. She had many items for sale that would have fit PERFECTLY into the theme for my younger son’s room—retro cowboys. Oh, how I was tempted! But, I suspect that there will be a theme change soon, especially if we move. Younger son has turned out to be more of an wombat than a cowboy. Debbie also told me about a site online that might help me develop my technique (read—“overcome disability”) for painting terra cotta pots. In particular, we talked about painting specifically for herbs. As much as I love and use herbs, I STILL often forget what is what once those seeds start sprouting. More of THAT in another post.

Juice Glasses


Here is some of Debbie’s handiwork. I would have loved to have brought this home, but we really have no room left, and my older son is too big for it. Sooooo cute, though.

Table and Chairs

Other lovely finds for someone. Can you believe it? A Schwinn bicycle built for two!!!!!!!

Shwinn bicycle built for two


And who can resist donuts and these pretty faces? Hmmmmm?



April 28, 2008 Posted by | "garage sale", Austin, glassware, thrifting, Uncategorized, vintage | , , , , | 6 Comments

The Inspiration

In a previous post, I described a Raggedy Ann and Andy burlap rendering.  Here it is, obviously AFTER some weathering.  I wonder who was responsible for Andy’s condition????????????????????????????????????

I also mentioned all the presents my sister brought me back from Disneyworld.  Don’t forget that this was in the 70s, so she was able to actually score big-time shopping.  You can’t SEE it, but I was wearing a Winnie the Pooh necklace that she gave me over my t-shirt.  She had tried to pose me so that I showcased everything!  The pink dog was hers–won at the Fair.  I loved it, because my mother wouldn’t let me have stuffed animals.  Or, at least, she refused to buy them for me!

April 22, 2008 Posted by | crafts, inspiration, sister | , , , , | 1 Comment

Vintage Blouse Patterns

Right now, I’m wishing for winter the way it was when I was growing up—you know, back when there were actual seasons? Remember putting away summer clothes after a frost or two and pulling out your winter wardrobe? Mine never totally recovered from the mothballs, and the mothballs let me down, I discovered, when I pulled out a gorgeous emerald green wool coat I’d worn ONCE and noticed mothholes on the arms. Winter clothes were always better than summer clothes, I thought, because you got to wear boots and shawls and ponchos! Well, I fantasized about wearing shawls, anyway. I finally have one but not the weather to wear it in. Sigh. If you couldn’t guess, my best winter wardrobe memories involve clothes from the 70s. Some early 80s, too, but I remember so well my sister’s clothes during the 70s. She had white jeans, I think, and knit tops, chunky heeled shoes, blouses that tied in the back, handkerchief blouses, and a tube top. She even made her own bikini.

This is her pattern, and I know she sewed it but I can’t recall the fabric she used. Seemed that it was reversible.

Some of the others, I’ve just picked up. Sometimes, you snatch them up before you think, right? Like this one–my bust could be a 32 1/2 again, right? Pppptttttttt! As if! And I’m sure I’d love to have to unzip my blouse in the back to take it off, wouldn’t I?

Another one of my sister’s. You can totally tell everybody wanted to look like Farrah.

Now, to be totally mushy and sad. These two, I bought when I was pregnant but before I knew I was carrying a boy. I thought for SURE, I’d get to buy pink. I suppose I could buy fabric and wait for someone I know to get pregnant….Has the time come for me to come to the realization that I won’t be needing any more baby clothes?

But the girly robes are darling, aren’t they? If you know anyone who needs anything so warm, that is. As long as I continue to live in Texas, it would probably be a good idea to resist the long sleeved little treasures like these. But, wouldn’t it be lovely to have a houseful of little girls in pajamas and nightgowns hurrying off to bed and waiting for their bedtime stories?

Okay, I guess the good news is that I won’t be humiliating a daughter by making her wear homemade clothes that would be, in the under 10’s set, considered out of style. And, truth be told, I may be trying to recapture something that is truly gone forever. BUT, I like pulling these out every once in a while to think about what might have been, remembering my own little 70s pink pajamas I got to wear by the fire, back when we had seasons.

April 18, 2008 Posted by | patterns, sew, thrifting, Uncategorized, vintage | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Love Austin

My complaining and whining about allergies has probably put more than one or two of you to sleep, and you, perhaps, have wished you could put ME to sleep, too.  The BIG sleep.  SO, while DS was in therapy today, I hit the trail and took some pictures.  No sense in avoiding Spring, since it’s seeping into the windows at home, right?  Those of you who know and love Austin as much as I do will recognize the path I took.  If you’re in a crummy mood, I CHALLENGE you to try to hang onto it with sights such as these.

April 15, 2008 Posted by | Austin | 1 Comment

The Inspiration Behind The Wannabe Craftster

This is my sister. She can do anything. Not half-way, either. As far back as I remember, she was crafting, sewing, or just had her hands busy doing anything creative she could. I think the first vehicles were, for her, camp crafts, bible school crafts, 4-H… She told me recently about an art teacher she had as a child, or was it a teacher who happened to teach a little art, who inspired her. I’d never known how important all of that was, because just as we don’t imagine our heroes having heroes, it never occurred to me that she needed any inspiration of her own or that she was once the little pair of eyes watching someone else paint or sew or pull odd materials together to form something new. To me, it all began with her, and that’s all I needed to believe, anyway. At the time. We shared a room together when she and I were kids, and she looked like this and had a horse. I followed her everywhere and must have been very annoying. She put up a funky looking poster in our room and a bumper sticker over her closet door that said “Archie is a Saint” referring to Archie Manning. She, along with everyone else in our family, actually enjoyed watching football on tv. I never got into it. In fact, I never even had the sense to ask who Archie was or what a Saint was. She also hung a burlapped rendering of Raggedy Ann and Andy on the wall. Early on, Andy popped his suspenders, and it all began going downhill from there for him. As different pieces of the unfortunate duo began to disappear, it seemed a bit sad and lost. Not that my grubby, fat little hands had anything to do with it. That I don’t remember. Once, she made one of those science project volcanoes for school. Fascinated me. She knew everything! Of course, these days, that kind of info is everywhere–how to make science projects, craft of the week, dough crafts, macaroni crafts, crochet patterns, knitting patterns, etc–but in the 70s, it absolutely was not. We didn’t get craft magazines or sewing magazines at our house, and there was no internet. There weren’t copy machines in the grocery stores, and we really didn’t have much of a public library. “How to” books are everywhere now for those who can do, or those who, like me, are, like me, wannabes. Wannabes tend to read a lot and look at pictures.

When the 80s hit, she dove into the craft movement like Greg Louganis at the Olympics. She taught me to crossstitch, and she taught herself to crochet rugs, knit sweaters, weave baskets, embroider, quilt, smocking…

You know, I just say that she taught herself. Truthfully, I can say I’ve never seen her in the beginning stages of anything. She presents her idea, gets the what-choo-talkin-bout-willis look from me, then presents the finished project, and again, I’ll say in all truthfulness, it ALWAYS looks ready to be photographed for a magazine.

I call myself a WANNABE because, unlike my sister, I’ve spent years studying crochet books, sewing books, knittting books, tatting…. everything. It takes me forever to make any progress, because I need someone to actually guide me through my lessons, to correct me, to tell me when to pull stitches out and to start again. And, to be honest, I have less faith in myself than most people. When I tell her about some of my ideas and ask her if she thinks I can do it, she always responds with an “Of course, you can!”

But, she can actually read and understand directions.

I’ve always believed that she is fearless.

When she was a teenager, she used to scare my mother to death all the time as we were riding along in our car. “LOOK AT THAT CORVETTE!!” she would scream. Maybe it’s just me or maybe it has to do with THAT kind of reaction, but I don’t think Corvettes have ever been as beautiful as they were in the 70s. I used to fantasize about growing up and making enough money to surprise her at Christmas with a yellow Corvette in the front yard. It would have suited her perfectly. Of all the strong personalities in my family, she is one of the only ones I truly consider to be fun-loving.

She was always, always kind to me. She took the time to teach me manners, to talk to me, to let me tag along, to ride me on the back of her bicycle, to laugh at my mostly dumb jokes, to rouse me on Christmas morning to say “I think Santa Claus came last night!” and to bring me tons of presents home from her church trip to Disneyworld, one of them being my first watch, a Minnie Mouse with a pink strap that I still have. Well, I still have the watch–and it works–but not the pink strap. I had longed for one all through second grade. She even wrote a postcard to me on that trip, and I don’t know where it is anymore. I would give anything to have it again.

She was the first person to make me feel important. And, it’s funny, but nobody has had quite the same effect on me since. It’s funny how imperative that first sense of self is, and there’s no bond like the one you make when you’re that young…..with someone who guides you, who inspires you, who shows you how much fun life can be, who makes you feel cute or precious during the only time in your life you can expect to be adored. God, we’re lucky if we ever find anyone who thinks everything we do is smart or funny or just naturally enjoys our company. She did. And, she does.

Happy Birthday, Sissie, from your little sister, The Wannabe Craftster.

April 13, 2008 Posted by | inspiration, sister, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Vintage Dress Patterns

I haven’t worn a real dress since I was pregnant with my younger son who is now four years old.    It’s a real shame, since I’ve owned so very many dresses and probably 100 or so dress patterns.  Some of those were never used, since we lost contact with Miss Francis, our beloved friends and dressmaker.  Since my sewing skills were nonexistent and I didn’t own a machine, anyway, many were finally grudgingly donated to Goodwill years ago.  While I don’t regret this much, I’m now on a quest to replenish my stock.  Reasons are many.  First, I just wanna.  Secondly, my sister the sewist has relocated to Fort Worth with sewing machine in tow.  Thirdly, I am back in communication with Miss Francis.  Finally, I’ve got my own sewing machine and intend to develop the skills to turn out perfection.  Or something like it.  Of course, this will take time, which is fine with me, because I’d also like to take some weight off before I really dive into this.  In the meantime, I do love to take a look at my growing vintage dress pattern collection and can do so now without rummaging through the patterns themselves but can just pull up my albums on Thumbplus and peruse.  Now that I’ve finally learned a LITTLE bit about my scanner, that is.

I love the DVF Wrap Dress pattern but couldn’t afford the genuine article on Ebay in my size.  Chose this little lovely, instead and can’t wait to see it worked up.

Possibly, POSSIBLY, I could turn out a nicer version of the traditional housedress using these patterns.  I KNOW, but I like the idea!!  Come on. it could happen.  Right?

April 12, 2008 Posted by | Designer clothes, patterns, sew | , , , | Leave a comment

Austin Siamese and Friends Garage Sale

Saturday, my son and I picked up some lovely little treasures at the Austin Siamese and Friends garage sale off South Congress. These folks foster homeless cats and kittens and need all the support they can get for cat food and all the other expenses that tend to accompany feline friends. We were prepared to dump a donation in the jar and leave just in case we didn’t see anything fun. Oh, but guess what? We did!! I was hoping to find some old sewing patterns or other craft materials—nope! There were, however, two sewing machines for sale. A great find for somebody. I wish I had taken a picture of the cat statuette table. Wouldn’t have minded picking up a few of those, but as I already have two of my own, I figured I’d better take care to avoid “the cat lady” label.

I did buy a plaque there that was quite unique and was told a fellow from England made them from recycled materials. Would look really cool outside in the garden, wouldn’t it?

This little yellow pot isn’t for sugar, although now that I’m looking at it with the two opaque cups, it seems logical. Why did I photograph them together? Can’t think of a good reason. Some Texas caviar might be a better choice, right?

The pick of the litter, so to speak, has to be this little group of rose party plates. Or, would you call them tea plates? You can see there’s a place for a matching cup, and I can just picture some like my grandmother’s. Tea and dainty little cucumber sandwiches. Now, I have the perfect excuse for more thrift shopping, since I’ve just got to find the cups that match.

I’ve also got the perfect excuse for diving into this book from the library and trying some of the recipes. More about THAT after I’ve had a chance to peruse.

Most importantly, if anyone is interested, I’m going to get started on some catnip mice (crocheting them, to be exact) for Shannon at She requested that I use this pattern These are great folks, and they’re working for a great cause, so if you’re interested in offering support, please feel free to drop them a line. Or, if you need something to do with your hands while you’re watching tv (no more nibbling or smoking these days, right?), I’m sure they’d appreciate some more mice for their foster kitties. Shannon also told me that the garage sale was such a big success that they’re scheduling another one for the fall. I’ll be there, hoping to find the cups for my little plates.

April 10, 2008 Posted by | Austin, Cats, Crochet Pattern, thrifting, Uncategorized | , , , | 1 Comment

Ever Have the Shopping Dream?

Many years ago, I had my first flying dream. It was the answer to the miserable snake dream I always had where everything I touched became a snake. There were big snakes, little snakes, snakes in trees, snakes that had appeared to be logs…you get the picture. Once I began flying in my dreams, I got away from them. My husband dreams he can fly like Superman, but true to my nature, I’m struggling with a dog-paddle type of technique. In the sky. Until I heard about him soaring through the clouds, I was pretty impressed with my sub-conscious. Then I realized that that this whole time I’ve been looking utterly ridiculous, with all the grace of a mud-wrestler.

Then, I had the shopping dream. Holy moly, it beats flying. Contrast my struggle in the air with my Midas touch in dreamland boutiques where EVERYthing looks glorious in the mirror, I’m utterly regal, and unlike my back-to-school dreams in which I find myself naked with undone homework during finals when I’ve just remembered a class I signed up to but never attended nor dropped, I’m never unprepared! I reach out my hand and brand new credit cards just APPEAR with my name on them!

I have no doubt this dream came to save me from my grief when in the summer of 94, I accidentally left a skirt I had longed for all summer at the register of the boutique on the St. Germaine in Paris. Tried to go back and find the store and just could not do it. Had to leave the next day.

The shopping dream has visited me for the past two nights. The stunner last night was an A-line dress in blue with short sleeves. What prompted it was, I believe, the new Vogue summer dress pattern I saw on Erica B.’s site. Here it is.

Vogue 1048

Vogue Pattern

April 1, 2008 Posted by | patterns, sew | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment