Cameo appearance

This is a piece of jewelry I am not planning on selling.
I'm pretty sure it came from my Mom's jewelry box.

I've tried to find similar pieces on Etsy and eBay
to learn more about when it was made
but haven't had much luck in that department.

That's where you come in.
Do you have any information to share?
Each picture is clickable for a better view.

NOTE: I remembered tonight there is a mark on the back --
"OBSTERLING." This is the maker's mark for Otsby & Barton,
est. in 1879 by Englehart C. Ostby and Nathan B. Barton,
makers of high end pieces during the Victorian and Deco Eras.
Ostby, originally from Norway, died in the Titanic disaster. 


From shamrocks to toadstools

Two hat "prototypes" done and I couldn't be more excited!!
Almost everything I have ever made was one of a kind.
These hats are the first things I've ever wanted to replicate exactly.

Lightweight crocheted pointy elfin hats
with wool medallions and, at least so far, nature icons.
First came the shamrocks and now toadstool/mushrooms
dictated by the golden brown color of the yarn.

The toadstool is of  my own creation. I think the center one is right.
I need to perfect the sizing as I have a small, medium and x-large now.
I've now moved onto a bright red yarn that will have apples.
After that, a creamy off-white and periwinkle blue.
Snowflakes and flowers, perhaps?

This was meant to be mine

We live in a little house, at least little for the six of us.
I also have a compulsion for collecting furniture
that needs refinishing and not getting around to it.
For that reason I try to resist new items --
but not this little spindly magazine rack.
When the thrift shop vendor said it was $2
and that is had been sitting in the back room for years, 
I knew it was just waiting for me.
For now I will just clean it up with some lemon oil
and maybe I will eventually paint it along with the other pieces.
Now, we finally have one place to hold library books.


Favorite Etsy handmade

Tolduso has both bucket and crocheted hats.

Field of Roses offers bags, coin purses on up to shoulder bags.

Ichiban Joyas makes miniatures and jewelry of polymer clay.

Apple Tree House has the cutest dolls you have ever seen.

Temporary Insanity creates fun and funky,
recycled "Vintage People."

Eye Shutter to Think has stunning fine art photographs.

lucie39 offers pretty little baubles.


Not what the buyer expected

For those of you who know me in person
or are fans of RedHenStudios on Facebook
you may already know part of this story.
For the rest of you, be prepared for a good laugh.

Since all of this happened on St. Patrick's Day,
I'm thinking we should blame the leprechauns.

I received an Etsy conversation from a buyer
saying instead of receiving the item she bought,
she got a box full of canned and dry goods.

I was totally perplexed but for a moment thought
there was a mixup here since the foods sounded
a bit like some of the foods dh would buy.

Once the buyer sent me the above photo
I realized that is not at all what happened.
It looks like someone's care package got swapped
with the contents of the box I sent.

But who did it and why? Someone stole it?
The food is probably actually worth more.
 Machine malfunction at the post office and
things were put back in the wrong boxes?
No one noticed the weight discrepancy.

In doing a bit of research, while this is odd
it isn't totally out of the ordinary.
Really weird things can happen after mail is sent.

Both the buyer and I have filed complaints with
the postal inspector's office but don't expect much,
especially since she didn't opt to pay for insurance.

Since my receipt wasn't in the box with the food,
I'm hoping that if someone does receive this item,
they will pass it on to its rightful owner.

Anyone else have strange post office stories?
I need a good laugh!


Sewing by the book

Along with the many sewing patterns
my mannequin Mary came with illustrated guides
that must have been invaluable to her seamstress owner.
I mostly enjoy the graphics and history
contained inside each book.

Never judge a book (or booklet) by its cover.
If I had, I would've missed out on the gorgeous illustrations
inside two "McCall's Pattern Fashions Bonus Books."
The covers are actually missing, but each page is chock full
of illustrations and sewing tips for girls' and women's pattern.

This one is dated Fall-winter 1960 and includes
lots of back-to-school fashions.

The second one isn't dated but includes
wedding dresses, so maybe spring/summer of same time period?

I knew from the cover of this one it was a keeper.
"Tailoring" from The Spool Cotton Company, 1945,
gives tips on making suits and coats expanding upon
the limited directions that come with purchased patterns.

How patriotic is this cover?
"Make and Mend for Victory" also from The Spool Cotton Co.
From 1942, during the war years, women made do
with what they already had or made their own.

This booklet offers tips on alterations, accessories,
mending, darning and even making over men's garments.

The only hardcover book that came with this lot
from an obviously hardcore seamstress is
"Regal's American Garment Cutter," 1947.
This is Volume II and includes more obscure items, like
coats for clergymen, military, boys and women.

And yet another book from The Spool Cotton Co, 1945,
with photo illustrations, pattern sketches and instructions
for making eight different handbags.

Some of my favorite little books are the red spiral bound
Singer Sewing Library how-to booklets, including
two that came with this lot, "How to Make Belts and Hems"
and "How to Make Buttonholes and Pockets," both 1960.

All of these items, and many more, will soon be listed in
my Etsy Supplies and How-to Books section.


Vogue Paris Originals

I've only sewn clothes from patterns twice in my life -- junior high home ec class and in my senior year when a friend helped me make a plain sheath dress from a school banquet. Neither time did I feel I was very good at it.

I'm certainly getting an education now, listing vintage patterns for a few friends. While I am more drawn to the fashions created from the patterns of the 1940s, these ones are the most stunning -- and valuable.

In 1949, Vogue Patterns introduced Vogue Paris Originals which, for the first time, allowed Paris couture garments to be reproduced in pattern form. Up until the mid-1970s, French designers were the most sought after and these four patterns fit into this category.

(Be sure to click on the photos for enlarged views.)

Pierre Cardin, 1967, uncut
One-piece, semi-fitted dress with bias standing collar and extended shoulders has slim bias sleeves with zippers at wrists. Front and back panel forming folds in skirt is top-stitched to hipline in front and back. Left shoulder closing and invisible side back zipper.

Christian Dior, 1964, some pieces cut SOLD
Semi-fitted A-shaped dress in two lengths has shaped plunging neckline. Coat in two lengths with rolled loop and tie collar has inset pockets. Bracelet length sleeves.

Christian Dior, 1960s, uncut
One-piece blouson dress has three-quarter length raglan sleeves with underarm gussets. Attached camisole. Slender skirt has shaped, self belt and box. Straight coat, with bias front and concealed snap closing, has bracelet length raglan sleeves and pockets in seams. Trim stitching.

Nina Ricci, 1967, uncut
Slightly-fitted jacket has standing bias collar and front zipper closing. Seven-eighths length kimono sleeves. Welt pockets and top-stitch trim. A-line skirt with bias front and straight grain back has shaped belt. Bias blouson blouse with back button closing has standing bias rolled collar and seven-eighths lenghth sleeves with bias roll up band.

My favorite is this very Jackie O. suit in pink. Besides patterns that are uncut, unused and with factory folds being more valuable, so are the ones that include the original sew-in fabric label.

All four of these patterns include their labels. For this reason, I am thinking of listing them on eBay instead of Etsy. During my research, I found prices were all over the map and have no idea what they are really worth.

If you are interested in any of these patterns, or have information to share, please leave a comment or email me at redhenstudios(at)aol.com.


Spring cleaning BOGO free sale

Today is the last full day of winter.
Bring on spring!!

In an attempt to clean up my house, and my studio in particular,
I am having a BOGO FREE SALE!!!!! in my Etsy shop.
Consider it a spring cleanout sale.

For every regularly-priced item you purchase,
you can pick out an item of equal or lesser value
from my NOW HALF OFF section for free.
Buy 2 items/get 2 free. Buy 3/get 3. And so on indefinitely.

Pay for your purchases through PayPal, mention "BOGO SALE"
and I will refund the cost of the free items to your PayPal.

 You will still have to pay for shipping for your free items
but most are listed at $1 when shipped with something else.
If you feel the shipping costs are too expensive,
I can definitely work something out.

Have fun shopping!


Sewing Patterns: Round Two

After listing my little stash of patterns today on Etsy,
I remembered two friends had given me more months ago.
Tomorrow, I shall be listing nearly 50 sweet fashions
probably from the 1940s-50s. A sampling is here.

Once they are done, I have an even bigger stash
that dates from the 40s to the 70s, including
four rare Vogue Paris Original fashion patterns
with their fabric sew-in labels still in the package.

Fashion through the decades

Here are some of the patterns
I've picked up but never tried out,
so I am sharing them on Etsy.
Can you use any of them?