Friday, March 31, 2017

C-1 at Antique Alley

C-1, that's my booth number at Antique Alley in Portland. I still have a display case, too, and that's F-3. Yesterday I went in and moved the quilts out of the case. They will be in the booth, where visitors to the shop will be able to get a better look at them.

I will start moving in to the booth when the shop opens tomorrow, and should be done by the early afternoon. The first trip will be a carload full of the furniture pieces, the bones of the display. Not many pieces really, but they take up space in the car. Maybe I can get some boxes in, too. Most everything for opening day is priced, packed and ready to go.
I have some fun things to sell in the first batch of items, some collectible and others more utilitarian.

this little cutie may go in to the case instead 
I have received several requests to purchase these items from afar. As much as I appreciate it, all the items seen here will be available at the shop only. Eventually I will have some Etsy sales and eBay auctions for select items, but not while I'm getting the booth up and running. The point of having a booth is to avoid doing a lot of shipping, particularly with cumbersome or breakable items.

My inventory will be a mix of things I have collected over the years. Recently I have added some other things from thrift shopping. I cleaned up a few things and even painted the frames of these lovely little crayon drawings from the 1930s. 

There was a Labyrinth game at one of the Goodwills, and it was a bargain, but there were no marbles, so I ordered a set of three for next to nothing on eBay. After the effort, the game is still priced to sell! Lots of bargains to be found, and also things you don't see every day. Curated by me. 

Antique Alley is located in the lower level of the 42nd Street Station, 2000 NE 42nd Avenue in the Hollywood District of Portland. Hours are 10am-6pm Monday through Friday, 10am-5pm Saturday and 12-5pm Sunday. For more information, click here.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

collecting Bicentennial

Patriotism in America is not exactly at an all-time high right now. So, what am I doing? Collecting patriotic memorabilia, specifically artificts from the Bicentennial. It may not be hot right now, but it will be sooner than everyone thinks.

The 1976 American Bicentennial took place when I was 10, and the Sestercentennial will take place in less than ten years. "Sestercen what?" The Sestercentennial! It will be America's 250th birthday, and every time there is a centennial, there's stuff. In 1976 there were lots of quilts, macrame, crochet, latch hook rugs, string art, decoupage and any number of other arts and crafts. 

Centennial artifacts in America are often red, white and blue, the colors of the flag. There are often eagles with shields, arrows and branches, the bird and seal of the United States. There are also lots of stars, since the field of stars is part of the flag.

During the Bicentennial, these colors were a little brighter than the traditional colors. It was a sign of the times. Navy blue went royal and scarlet red went cadmium light.

It is interesting how most of the eagles face one direction, the viewer's left. There is an old romantic tale about the direction of the eagle's head changing in times of war, but according to the history it was only changed once and has remained the same ever since.

The exuberance in centennial objects is not felt quite the same way at other times, but these artifacts give us a good glance back. And they are collectible! And, looking ahead, I feel like there will be great interest in the Bicentennial as we approach the 2026 Sestercentennial.

Most of the time, when I say the word "Sestercentennial" people get puzzled looks on their faces. They'd never heard of it before. The Sestercentennial will be on everyone's radar in a few years. But I'm on it like white on rice...or like royal blue on a Bicentennial quilt.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


If you have seen my blog recently, you may recall the stunning, mid-century modern black and white quilt made and signed by Barbara McKie in 1974. 

Well, here's an interesting and fun coincidence. There is a fabric print design just like Barbara's patchwork design, and it is in the Bible of fabric identification books, Eileen Trestain's "Dating Fabrics: A Color Guide". There are two editions of Dating Fabrics, and this neat little swatch is in the first, which covers the period from 1800 to 1960. The second edition covers the period from 1950 to 2000. Both books are essentials in quilt identification.

In the section covering the period from 1910 to 1935 in book one, the blue and white print appears on page 137, one up from the bottom on the left. My friend Janis Pearson pointed it out. Thank you, Janis, you have an eagle eye! It's fun to find a fabric print identical to such a cool quilt design.

I will have to ask Barbara if she'd ever seen the fabric before. I know she couldn't have seen it in "Dating Fabrics: A Color Guide" before making her quilt in 1974. Trestain's book was published in 1998.

Monday, March 27, 2017

memory lane

In the 1970s, I was in the Cub Scouts. One of the annual traditions was the Pinewood Derby, and I remember making a car one year. It was a complete disaster, and I think the wheels fell off, but it was a fun disaster. Every boy had his own idea about how to make the car, what shape it should be, what weights to put in it and how to decorate it.

There was a kit with a block of wood, plastic wheels, nails for axels, and some instructions. Now there's a wikipedia page and a web site! I really could've used that. My car was barely carved, had no weights in it, the wheels were not put on the right way, it was painted metallic blue, and I glued on a piece of pyrite, "fool's gold" as a big, honkin' hood ornament. Truly the thing looked ridiculous, and it probably went in the trash at some point. I remember the winning car, too. It medium light blue and was shaped like a pointy teardrop, looked professionally made. When I saw it, I realized some kids had grown-ups helping them, and that was OK, I guess. I was happier making my own car, even if the wheels fell off before it could reach the finish line.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

"Tree Owls"

Owls were "a thing" in the 1970s. They were everywhere.

Today it is hard to go vintage shopping without finding lots of them.

at a shop in Hillsboro, Oregon
Seen on Etsy
1970s quilt from Cincinnati, Ohio
There are so many owl latch hooked rugs available for sale, I could have a large collection of them in just a few keystrokes, but there was one I liked best-- the Bucilla "Tree Owls" rug.

Like most of the other latch hooked rugs of the period, the design came as a kit, complete with printed canvas and yarn. This design is a little unusual in its use of longer "Rya" yarn in addition to the shorter length yarn. Part of the design is done in the reverse, more like needlepoint, with no shag showing on the front in the background of the tree hollow. The leaves were made with the longer, Rya yarn.

Although there were lots of owls, there were very few of these Bucilla Tree Owls, and the charming design jumped out when I saw it. The rug was less than half the price of the only kit I saw, which had sold about a month ago on eBay.

I love how easy it is to identify these 1970s rug designs. It is especially satisfying to have finite, straightforward answers when quilt identification is often anything but simple. Interestingly, none of the vintage 1970s latch hooked rugs I have seen have inscriptions or any information about the makers.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Christmas came early

I found this neat little vintage Santa Claus latch hook rug on eBay, and thought it was probably a kit. Most of the latch hook rugs of the time were kits. Sure enough, it was.

It is a Wonder Art Creative Needlecrafts kit, Number 4895 "Santa Claus". I found the kit later in another online auction. It was interesting to see "RYA" on the package. Rya rugs are traditional Scandinavian rugs with long pile, think: shag.

I didn't buy the Santa Claus kit, but it was interesting to find out more about it. If there was a book on these late 20th century latch hook rug kits, I'd buy it.

Friday, March 24, 2017


When I was nine or ten years old, some time around the Bicentennial I was into all kinds of arts and crafts. One of my at-home projects was a latch-hooked rug. 

My rug had a tiger with a big head, long tail and little red hats that looked like shoes on its ears. The rug went in a garage sale decades ago, but recently I regretted it as I jogged my memory about the actual design. For some reason, I thought it was Tigger from Winnie the Pooh, but it was really more of a generic tiger cartoon design. I found one on eBay and bought it.

While I was looking, I saw other rugs. Many of them had eagles, and a lot of those were patriotic, Bicentennial rugs. They weren't very expensive.

A couple of the rugs were eagles without patriotic elements, simply eagles in natural settings. One had a border on two edges.

I even found a thunderbird! Complete with thunder clouds and lightning bolts! How cool is that?

So, it looks like I have a little collection of latch-hooked rugs now. I'll sell some but keep others. They go well with the 1970s quilts, and the Patriotic eagles go especially well with the Bicentennial quilts. I got my hands on a canvas, too, so maybe I'll make another one. Back when I made my tiger rug, I tried sewing around the same time. Making the rug was much easier for me, and more relaxing, almost zen-like. The funny thing is I'll have to watch a tutorial to recall how to do it.