Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Torquoise - Feed Sack Bag

 Have you ever bought a feed sack just for the bag? No, well I'm not surprised but I couldn't pass this one up. It isn't as if I won't use the feed. The only difference in this bag and the one I usually buy, other than color, is my usual bag is pellets and this one is the same thing crunched up. 

 It has been a while since Gerry and I have spent time together and I was kind of missing him. Who's Gerry? He's the antique, shoe leather, sewing machine. Named because he's such a character.

The results of our date was this, a cool turquoise feed sack and a return of a few other livestock feed sack favorites to my Etsy shop.
What do you think of the new color?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Jane Austen Style

 The scenes, the clothing, the country life, all looks so appealing in England in 1796, the era of Jane Austen.
And though I have the movie, Sense and Sensibility, it is the above version of Pride and Prejudice that I love. Even my husband and son enjoy it. And yet, when I began looking in to what life was really like in Jolly Ole England, as you hear it said in the old movies, the picture wasn't so appealing. In fact, it was down right harsh. Not only did woman during this period have few rights but for the masses, survival was an every day struggle.

There was a big distinction between the haves and the have nots and the masses had not. The Craftsmen and the labourers lived in 2 or 3 room houses. There furniture was plain, not upholstered. No Chipandale furniture to sit on or fancy James Cox clocks to hang on the wall. And meat seldom graced their tables, especially in winter for most of the stock was killed in the fall because of the lack of feed to carry them through. The main table fair was bread, butter, potatoes, and tea. Yum, well maybe not but it filled an empty stomach and most were glad to get that much for half the population lived at subsistence or bare survival level.

And as I thought of myself, had I lived during this era, one of those living at subsistence level would be me.

But times were changing and a industrial revolution was taking place with water powered and steam powered mechanization coming into production. Yet, though the reality of life during 1796 was difficult, I still can't help romanticizing the era. The soulistic scenery, the clothing styles, the... the..., I know it was only for the rich but in our fantacies aren't we always more wealthy than we really are? So I say, keep dreaming, the picture is always so much more beautiful.

In my Jane Austen scenes, the girls are knitting and spinning, not embroidering. I know, I know, in the movie they are embroidering and maybe the really rich embroidered because the had someone else knitting and spinning, but anyone but the really rich surely were knitting and spinning themselves. Besides, I'd rather knit and spin anyday over embroider.  Plus, having snooped into history before, I know that it wasn't food (since there wasn't very much), or housecleaning (since there wasn't much of a house to clean) that took up the womens time. It was clothing construction that filled their days and evenings.  Yes, I'm sure those wheels flew, looms thumped, and the knitting needles clicked trying to keep up with making socks, hats, shirt, pants, bedding etc. 

There must have been a shortage because in neighboring Ireland, the government was giving land owners who planted their field into flax, spinning wheels and looms depending on the number of acres.

As I think of our local grocery store, the shelves heaping with products, the new yarn I bought for knitting socks, and the smaller, three bedroom home we own, I truly feel blessed.
If you are curious about society in 1976 check out these links below

I bet you are wondering what's all this talk is about Jane Austen? Well, the new Jane-Austen-Knits on line version just came out and I'm in it. Okay, not exactly me but one of my project bags is. Which reminds me, I've got to get those bags re-photographed.

How does one get it all done in the springtime? I'll bet your To Do list is longer than my arms too. But, between chores outside and those inside, take a break and check out the new Jane Austen knits along with the following blog and news. Of course I have to say this, especially check out what they have to say about my project bag. I can't wait to see myself.

To learn more about this issue,http://www.k

Monday, May 7, 2012

Ivory Leaf Button

I'm in love with this button. It combines two of my favorite things, ivory and leaves. When I photographed it on this rich brown alpaca, I was so..... tempted to tuck it away and use it with this yarn. You never would have known I wasn't willing to share.

I had to tell myself, "Holly, you can make more. Now get a grip." It's true. I do have some more white Wooly Mammoth ivory chunks that I can make another leaf button from so I guess I'll live, barely though. LOL

You saw the earlier blog where I was grinding the piece of ivory. The one where I lost small chunks of skin. I'm proud to say, the last few times I've used the belt grinder, no flesh has been lost in the pursuit of buttons.

I left you hanging at this stage. I was waiting for my mentor to have a little time to teach me a lesson and show me where he hides his little files and tools. Mainly, show me where he hides his tools. Though it probably was best I didn't know where they were because it kept me from using the wrong one in my impatience to work on this button.  
To create the leaf's vein lines, we decided to try a checkering tool. It worked great, especially in his hands. He'd worked out all the technique tricks but he was willing to share. I wasn't quite so skilled but then practice makes perfect as they say and I plan on using this tool many more times. 

Now I'm off and running on another leaf project. I've downloaded lots of drawing of leaves off the Internet to give me inspiration and I'm looking through my small bits of ivory. What leaf shape would work best with each piece according to the ivory's configurations and coloring.

This could become addicting if time would only allow.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Bark Mammoth Ivory Button

 Like my button? Can't see it? Well, I could when I saw this left over scrap piece of bark mammoth ivory. This little piece was cut off from the scales Kirk bought to put on the handle of one of his knives.
The scales for the one knife, Kirk thinks was around $125.00. I'm only referring to the cost so you can get an idea of just how elite this piece of mammoth ivory is.  Bark ivory sells for big bucks.
 What I saw when I looked at this mammoth ivory piece is a flower. Now maybe you can see a bit of what I saw. The first step to creating this was to grind the chunk to approximately the desired thickness.  Then I drew the flower on the back and ground near the pencil lines.
 The next move was to use hand files and sand paper to refine the grind. When that was done, I used checkering tools to create the lines that ran from the edge toward the center.
That gave me this. And deciding this button was still a bit thick, I to ground a little more, taking off some more ivory from the back.
A little varnish to add some shine and voila, a cool looking, flowery button.  Look for it on Etsy at
but give me a couple days because I've one more coat of polish to apply, and I still need to photograph the button for the Etsy site, along with attaching the button to a card.

Now it is up to the new owner of this unique treasure to come up with an imaginative way to use this mammoth bark button. 

I can see it on a leather purse, a pillow, a hat, or a sweater, maybe even on a wool jacket. There are so... many possibilities. I can't wait to see where it goes. Hopefully, the new owner will share photos of this button's end destination.  

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Livestock Feed Sack Bag Changes

 New and improved is what big business would call it but I'd just call it better. That's what's happening with the livestock feed bags. I've given them a wider foundation going from six inches to seven so they sit more open.
The inside bottom is constructed a little differently than before causing a flatter surface.

And there is more styles than ever to choose from. I'll get to snapping pictures tomorrow and measuring so they can go up on The Calico Bush Etsy account by Thursday.