Monthly Archives: August 2011

Feedsacks? Floursacks? Fabric!

Loryn: Feedsacks, floursacks, just about anything that came in a sack (including flour, beans, chicken feed, and rice) was sold in bright printed fabric during the depression era. Feedsacks have to be the best marketing ploy for crafters that has ever come along! In the 1920s, manufacturers realized that lots of housewives used the sack fabric, and they would buy even more if it was a pretty print. Here in the middle of Indiana, with all of our farms, we have lots of feedsacks around even today.

So, how do you know if you have a feedsack? The first clue is a cotton fabric with a tell-tale loose weave, that looks something like this:

Loose weave in feedsack fabric
Most feedsacks are very loosely woven

Not all fabric with that weave was actually a feedsack, though, as you could buy the same fabric in yardage. The sacks were usually between 36-39″ wide and 43-46″ long. If you have the entire sack, you should be able to see the stitching holes along two sides, like this:

Feedsack stitching
If the sack has been taken apart, you can still see the stitching holes

Sometimes you’ll find a sack still stitched together. The seam was sewn with a chain stitch, so it pulled out easily. I’ve come across one with the label still intact, too. If you fabric doesn’t show the stitching holes, it may have been yardage. From a crafting viewpoint, though, the prints are just as nice!

I really enjoy sewing with feedsacks, as the prints are great and the cotton fabric is very easy to handle. I often line feedsack items because of the loose weave, to give it a little more body.

Now on to a gallery of prints!

Gorgeous red print, one of my mom’s (Lynne’s) favorites! This one is even more loosely woven than most.

Red stripe. Stripes can be challenging, because the stripe is not always on the grain of the fabric.

One of my favorite prints!

I have several sacks in this print, and you’ll see them in use soon!

I only have a few scraps of this print, which is too bad.

Yellow is one of Cheri’s favorite colors, so I’ve used this fabric in projects for her.

I love this bright gingham, but the print is slightly off register.

Beautiful!

A fun print.

One of my favorites.

This is one of the first feedsacks I ever purchased, while antiquing in college.

Feedsacks were made into the 60s (though in more limited quantity), and I suspect this is a late print.

This is a change from the bright prints that I usually prefer.

This one has a few stains. The oxy boiling method will get rid of all of them!

Like the bright pink one above, this has a woven stripe.

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing part of my collection! For a fun read on feedsacks (including a woman who left the part of the label that said “self rising” on her husband’s drawers!), head to womenfolk.com. For a site that is full of information, head to quiltersmuse.com.

Ben Japanese—Thai Express

Lynne:  Loryn has been working on me to go to the new Japanese–Thai restaurant here in Logansport. It is in the little building at the northwestern corner of 6th and Michigan Ave. There have been several small family restaurants in this location, and the only one I remember clearly is one that served some of the best tacos ever, covered in a fresh, luscious avocado guacamole.  I ate there as often as I could, and since I lived very close I could walk there every day.

It is hard for restaurants to make it in Logansport. No one is particularly anxious to spend money on unfamiliar food. It is hard to tell someone that their food is terrible if you don’t know how it is supposed to taste. You can’t complain because it may be cooked extremely well, but it is something you hate extremely much. (Like cooked turnips.)

The Ben Japanese–Thai Express restaurant was really great. I went in and ordered the filet mignon, which was $8.75. I couldn’t imagine what could be called filet mignon at that price, but since Loryn guaranteed the food (and paid for it) I felt that I could take that chance.

It turns out that this dish is small pieces of tenderloin over rice with carrots, zucchini and onions. The meat is extraordinarily tender and the vegetables were that wonderful degree of cooked where they are not mushy, but they do not crack your teeth.  There is a sauce overall that tastes to me like hoisin sauce, but as I am not terribly knowledgeable about Asian sauces I cannot guarantee that’s what it is. It just tastes like the sauce I usually get with Thai spring rolls.

The meal includes a salad and a delicious egg-roll. That’s a lot of food for your money. The restaurant is small but the service is very good. I had the regular iced tea and sometimes tea will tell you a lot about a restaurant. This was fresh. Loryn is a fan of the yellow curry (without meat as she is a vegetarian) and is trying not to order it every time she goes. She wants to try some of the other dishes.

If your palate is jaded from hamburgers, fries and chicken, this is the place to get something different and come away happy.

Ben Japanese–Thai Express

Dine In/Take Out

Business Hours: Monday -Saturday, 11 am to 9 pm

Phone/Fax: 574-722-9920

705 N. 6th St.

Logansport

(Visa, Mastercard, and Discover cards accepted)

Beads and More Beads!

As a beader and jeweler hobbyist, there is nothing better than more materials. More beads, wire, findings, centerpieces, doesn’t matter. Yesterday, I made a trip up to Whiteland to Beads Unlimited which is a wonderful store. Their website is still under construction, so you can’t really see just exactly how wonderful, but believe me it is well worth a trip. Their selection of seedbeads, silver, glass, natural stones and metal beads is the best I have found in Indiana so far. There are other bead stores that have more of a particular type of bead or material, but for all around purchases, don’t miss Beads Unlimited.

My favorite items to pick up from Beads Unlimited are jasper and agate drilled stones to use as pendants.

10 Jasper and Agate drilled stones to be used as pendants.
10 drilled stones I purchased Saturday

The color and striation variations that come from agate and jasper seem to be endless and now that they have started successfully dying the agate, it has broadened the uses even further (the turquoise stone above is dyed agate, isn’t it pretty?). I seem to have gone for a more Asian feel with the stones I picked up yesterday, and they are mostly of neutral shades. Some of them are drilled straight through and others have more interesting (and what may have been faulty) drill-holes.

While Loryn was here last weekend, I was showing her my stash and was talking about a pink quartz triangle donut in my collection that has two drill-holes which, as it is a transparent stone, makes it look rather odd. Loryn, the excellent visualist she is, immediately showed me how to use it in a unique fashion. Since then, I have been actively looking for stones with odd holes and found a few this trip. It is wonderful to be able to take this flaw and really make it something unique and gorgeous.

I have also had this small obsession with coral and imagine my joy when I found some blue coral. I have a ton of red coral (in so many shapes and sizes), so the blue was an excellent find.

Blue coral, black glass and pearl beads still strung.
I have yet to cut them off their strands

Blue coral is a light denim color with darker blue specks and whorls. I bought it in two shapes and cannot wait to use them. Also pictured are a strand of black glass rectangles with dimples on all the sides and two pearl strands. The blue/teal pearls are halfway between potato and spherical (I’m sure this shape actually has a name, although I don’t know it) and are absolutely beautiful. The natural, off-white pearls are dots. They are flat on one side and have a hole drilled towards the top to make them drop beads of a sort, supercute.

I also bought a bunch of glass, both strung and not in varying colors and shapes.

6 different types of glass beads

Unstrung beads already in plastic baggies.I picked up quite a few neutral to brown glass strands to go along with the pendant stones I purchased. The square green glass beads in the center of the first photo were just too cool and cute to pass up. Haven’t figured out what or how I will use them, but nothing in my stash is ever wasted.

Here is a photo of the entire haul:

All the beads purchased from Beads Unlimited on Saturday.

I did stay within my budget, only just, but until I actually sell a piece, I am trying to restrict myself, although it may not look it. I cannot wait to create some new pieces from this bead run. Hey, what am I waiting for? Talk to you later!

-Kristin

Cheap Tricks: A Tray in the Hand …

A baking sheet makes a great tray
A baking sheet makes a great tray ...

This post kicks off a new series we call “Cheap Tricks,” little things you can do to save money by creative re-use and plain old frugality.

This week’s Cheap Trick came about when I needed a tray to carry my dinner. I love vintage trays, but they’re bulky and take up a lot of cupboard space. Enter my stand in, a quarter sheet pan. It’s just the right size, and the high rim keeps any spills contained. This one is a commercial baking pan from GFS. I’ve heard many serious cooks rave about commercial bakeware, and this pan was right around $6. They’re great for cookies, too! If you’re in the market, buy it from a restaurant supply store. They’re exactly the same as the ones sold in fancy cooking supply stores, at less than half the price.

If you’re wondering about my dinner, it’s a quinoa vegetable stew. Kristin’s quinoa dish reminded me that I need to fix it more often. I don’t really use recipes, so I just threw together some sauteed onion, canned tomatoes, a bag of frozen veggies, and a 1/2 cup quinoa. Healthy and tasty!

—Loryn

Nostalgia Strikes: Weekly Reader Book Bag

Weekly Reader Book Bag
Third-grade status symbol, circa 1982

I had to have this the minute I spotted it at a big barn sale recently. I have no idea what I will do with it, but it was 10 cents. The minute I picked it up, I was transported back to elementary school. The Weekly Reader program was a big deal—not only did we get to get out of class, we got to buy books!

 I was obsessed with books even before I could read, and during the era of the
Weekly Reader bag, I was obsessed with Beverly Cleary. I remember buying my copy of Ramona and Her Mother at the Weekly Reader book fair, and I was in love the minute I read about Willa Jean’s teddy bear.
 
I read every Beverly Cleary book I could get my hands on over the next two years, but eventually I grew up and moved on. I forgot about Ramona for almost two decades. Then came September 11, 2001. The night the Twin Towers fell, I didn’t think I would ever be able to get the horror out of my head and sleep. I searched my bookshelves for something, anything, that would help me put it out of my head. There, tucked into the back of a shelf was my Weekly Reader copy of Ramona and Her Mother, and I started reading.
 
I loved the book just as much as I did in elementary school. It’s just as fresh and funny, and even more poignant. I laughed until I cried at Ramona’s carsick scene and felt just as bad as Beezus at her bad haircut. It was exactly the innocence that I needed that night, and I fell asleep knowing that there is good in the world, even when horrible things happen.
 
Every now and then, I pick up a book from my childhood. I have a 1977 Weekly Reader copy of The Mouse and the Motorcycle on my bookshelf now. It is simply impossible to be unhappy when you’re reading about a mouse who can drive.
 
—Loryn

Vintage Pegs, Let My Fingers Do the Walking

The bucket of pegs.
I want to run my fingers through them just looking at the picture.

Sometimes when you are at a garage sale, you will run across an item that is so cool that you know if you don’t buy it, you will spend the rest of your life regretting it. Okay, maybe not that long, but a long time.

Anyway, Lynne and I were at a garage sale last weekend and I ran across something that describes this scenario perfectly. The item I found was peg boards and pegs.

The boards are about 12×12 inches square. They look like actual pegboard and they have patterns that fit over them. A student is supposed to match the colored pegs to the pattern. They have always reminded me of a Lite Brite without the electricity.

The pegs come in all different colors, and they are about 2-3 inches long and they are made of wood. When you stick your hand in the container and wiggle your fingers, they make a really neat wooden sound. That may be the reason I like them so much.

I believe the board and pegs are about 30 to 40 years old and they just have that awesome vintage feel. The graphics on the back are very cool, so needless to say I bought them. I knew I could not take the stress of lifetime regret.

Since I picked them up, I have been running ideas though my head and this process has become a nice calming oasis in my otherwise hectic world. I think that I may try several ideas and then again, maybe, I might just hang out with the container of pegs and run my fingers through them. Ahhhh…so calming.

-Cheri