Why 'My Mink Betty'?

Why 'My Mink Betty'?
I'm not your common, everyday twenty-something year old and when I graduated from High School I got an equally uncommon gift. My parents found for me a beautiful 1940's mink stole at a garage sale. It had belonged to the woman's Great Aunt Betty who had married late in life to a man with money and had only allowed him to buy her this one luxury. The unusually styled stole has the name, Betty L. Jones, embroidered in the satin lining so that's what I call her. They never had children of their own and the mink was passed to Aunt Betty's niece and on to her daughter. Until it got to me, no one since Aunt Betty had worn it. Now Betty the mink and I go to the theater together on special occasions and I hope that someday I can take her to the Symphony or the Ballet. Although Betty hadn't been worn or loved for many years she was waiting for someone to love her again as are most other things I look for when thrifting.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Bar Keeper's Friend Should Be Your Friend, Too

Today's post is written by my Mom.

Isn't she lovely?  Ok, not so much.  
I found this Pyrex Spring Blossom patterned 1 1/2 qt oval casserole at the Goodwill Outlet a couple of years ago.  I often see glass baking pans at the Outlet covered in baked on grease, like this.  Most people think they're ruined, but I know better.  I have a secret weapon.

Bar Keeper's Friend (BKF)

Bar Keeper's Friend is a powdered cleansing product.  Unlike Comet or Ajax, BKF uses oxalic acid as it's main ingredient, making it especially effective at removing rust stains and polishing up copper bottom pans.  It is less abrasive, as well.  We use it around the house on the glass cooktop, stainless steel and aluminum pans, and of course, all our glass cookware.

Unfortunately,  I can't find a picture of that casserole after I cleaned it up, but let me assure you, a little bit of BKF and it cleaned up so well it looked brand new.  I found a lid for it and gave it to a friend as a housewarming gift.

I do have some other before and after pictures, though.

This is a glass cake plate I bought at an estate sale for 50c.  
It was covered in what appeared to be mineral deposits.
This is what it looked like partway through cleaning it.

I bought this sorry looking refrigerator dish for 25c because I wanted it's lid, but then decided to experiment with the BKF just to see how much it could be cleaned up.  It's still not a pretty Pyrex, but you can see the difference a little BKF can make.

Here are the two of them together, all cleaned up. 

Another Pyrex piece before

and after.

I bought this Blue Butterprint casserole even thought it was a bit faded from the dishwasher and had lots of little grey marks, because Blue Butterprint doesn't come along every day. 

I wasn't able to restore the shine, but I did get rid of the dark marks and the baked on food.

You do have to be a little bit careful with BKF.  Even though it is not as abrasive as some other cleansers, it is still an abrasive product.  I found out the hard way that it will scratch mirror-finish aluminum.  Duh.  I should have known.  It can also scratch plastic. And as with anything on Pyrex, tread lightly.
I have one other suggestion for cleaning Pyrex.  When it comes to getting crud out of the edges, try a toothpick.  Often you can rub crud off with the point of the toothpick.

So the next time you're at a garage sale and see a baking dish that looks like it's been cooked to death, don't be afraid to take it home and try some BKF resurrection of your own.

By the way, I have no affiliation with the people who make BKF.  I just like their product. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Ravelry Swap Reveal: Part Two, The Project Bag

I live close enough to one of the two Pendleton Woolen Mills (where Pendleton blankets and shirts are born) that I have driven past it countless times over the years on my way to church, friends' houses or estate sales.  For years I've wondered whether there was a factory store open to the public and what the hours would be.  One day, on my way to church, God sent me a sign.  Well actually, it was the factory sign that had apparently been there all along, just obscured by a grove of cottonwood trees.  Somebody cut down the trees, and I discovered the Mill Store.

Soon I stopped in and discovered that a decent variety of wool remnants could be found at reasonable prices.  Additionally, every cut fabric was 30% off, including remnants.  I wanted to do a project bag for the Ravelry swap, and after a very enjoyable time looking through all the goodies, I found three pieces I was sure would work.

I chose a solid piece in orange, and two coordinating plaids, one with a grey base, and one with a yellow base.  Each remnant was about a half yard of fabric.

I knew I wanted to make a Japanese Knot style bag, because this was going to be my first project ever sewn on a machine, and it doesn't require a zipper, drawstring or any other fastenings.  I found a pattern online and modified it to the size I wanted.  Then I set to work.

Unfortunately, being a novice at sewing, I didn't realize that working with wool brings it's own challenges.  The edges needed to be finished so they wouldn't ravel, and the weight of the fabric made it more difficult to manipulate and gather.  I also did not know that a Japanese Knot bag is a tricky pattern, no matter how straight forward it may seem.  Mom was confined to bed, so unable to help beyond giving advice, so I was on my own.  It was quite an adventure.   But I managed to pull it together just in time for shipping.

Here's the finished object.  I used the solid orange with the grey plaid for contrast. 

The lining is done in the grey plaid with an orange bottom, and the bag is fully reversible.  Even though the wool was a challenge for a novice to work with, it makes for a very sturdy bag, and I'm very pleased with the choice.  My swappee sews and she was very impressed.  Because she sews, I sent along the leftover material, including the majority of the yellow and orange plaid.

When I was practicing with the sewing machine, I made this little needle book, which I also sent.  Wool makes an excellent needle book.  Now that the sewing machine is set up again, maybe I can sew a make-up bag in less than 24 hours (sewing by hand isn't difficult, but it is time-consuming, lol).

Part Three of the Ravelry Swap Reveal is coming soon.
If you haven't seen Part One, it was mostly yarn.

I'm linking up with these parties:
Nifty Thrifty Sunday
Show and Share
Roses of Inspiration
Think Tank Thursday
Frugal Friday

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Ravelry Swap Reveal: Part One

For my crochet projects, I use Ravelry, a networking site for fiber arts, where one can find patterns for free or purchase, pattern help and yarn or notions venders.  They have a wide network of social forums and groups.  I am a member of a group specifically for swapping, and I just completed a swap. 

The theme for this swap was "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle."  This fit so well with things I like to do, such as thrifting, repurposing, and crafting, that I was able to fill a large Priority Mail flat rate box and stay well within my budget.  

 One of the requirements for the swaps that I do is to include at least one skein of yarn for my swappee to use.  I also like to send one item that I crocheted.  Mom likes to unravel or dismantle sweaters, and I help, so between the two of us, we were able to compile a good amount of yarn for this swap.

This 25c wool/angora/nylon J. Crew sweater

became a pair of fingerless mittens

and a lot of bulky weight yarn for my swappee to craft with.

The color in my picture is a little off; the yarn itself is a bit more mustard yellow.

I'm always on the lookout for a good white wool sweater that can be unraveled and dyed. 

So I pulled this one from my stash.  This was a 2XL woman's sweater, wool/nylon blend, that I picked up at Value Village for about $3.50.

First, Mom took out the seams, then she unraveled the sweater, resulting in about 2000 yards of sport weight yarn.

I used felted joins to make two skeins, 455 yards each, and then dyed them using Wilton Gel Color and vinegar to get a nice variegated orange colorway.  My swappee's favorite color is orange.  You can see I still have a little more than half the yarn left for another project. 

We learned how to unravel sweaters and reclaim the yarn from THIS website.

I've been cannibalizing jewelry for years, so I was able to put together a row counter bracelet and some stitch markers.  And there are the Tupperware measuring spoons I found back in February. 

These are just some of the things I was able to get into my swap box.  I'll show more soon.

I'm linking up with these parties:

Nifty Thrifty Sunday
Show and Share
Roses of Inspiration
Think Tank Thursday
Frugal Friday
Tips & Tricks
Bouquet of Talent

Friday, April 17, 2015

What the Frickety-Frack? Friday #2

Welcome to "What the Frickety-Frack Friday," where I share the weird, unusual, creepy, puzzling, or even downright terrifying things I've seen offered for sale or just around town.  The things that make me say, "What the Frickety-Frack?"
Because of Mom's situation with her back, we can't get out to the estate sales, and wouldn't you know it, there are a lot of great sales right now.  But we do have a local website full of pictures from the sales to look at, so I present this:

You tell me.  
What the Frickety-Frack is this?  
It appears to be a lamp, because I can see a cord and a switch behind it.  But it also appears to be melted... or broken...  Is it supposed to look like this?  Or did somebody go crazy with the E-6000 adhesive and some bits and pieces?  It's probably a valuable antique, but I just don't get it.

 Here we have the remains of a Pyrex primary colors refrigerator set.  This is what years of dishwasher use will do to Pyrex.  Let us observe a moment of silence in remembrance of what this set once was.  Hope they're not asking much.

Metlox Peach Blossom
 Pretty,  pretty,  pretty
Nothing Frickety-Frack about this.
I love this pattern of dishes and wish I could go to the local sale just to see them. 
I hope everyone else is blessed with great sales this weekend and finds wonderful things.

I'm linking up with these parties:

Thrifter Share
Show and Share
Roses of Inspiration
 Vintage Bliss Tuesdays
Vintage Inspiration Party 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Happy Late Easter!

I had to take a break from blogging because my mother is dealing with a herniated disk in her back which put her on complete bed rest.  She is responding well to medication now and is able to be up and about, but still needs full time help.  She is scheduled for surgery in June so I should be able to post a little more frequently now.  

In case you hadn't noticed, last week Sunday April 5, 2015 was Easter Sunday.  My boyfriend didn't grow up in the church and had actually never celebrated Easter before in his life so this year I decided to give him an Easter basket.  It was nothing fancy, just some candy, a card and a child's Easter puzzle but he loved it.  

Seeing as I was putting together a basket for him, Mom decided to surprise me with a basket of my own and the results were pretty hilarious.  She put it together when her alarm when off for her middle of the night dose of muscle relaxers and pain medication.

A yellow Tupperware serving bowl - an Easter bowl holding a mink pillbox hat!  The color of the hat is more blonde than Betty or my muff but I like it very much, anyway.  It's quite soft and my father actually retrieved it from an Estate Sale at Mom's request while she was on bed rest a few weeks ago. 

Check out her totally awesome kindergarten style artwork!

If you look carefully, you will see The Easter Alligator guarding his nest.
Yes, that's right, after the 4:00 am medication, one gets an Easter Alligator.
Dad said the alligator needed the mink to keep him warm (and HE wasn't even on meds.)
Doesn't he look cozy?

When I took the hat off the bowl I discovered a white chocolate rabbit, a package of pink peeps, a "bracelet" made from pipe cleaners (gee thanks) and one of my plastic alligators - yes I own more than one - guarding it's eggs in the Easter grass.

In unrelated news I finished my yarn swap on Ravelry and here's a sneak peek!

I hope that everyone had a lovely Easter holiday and spent some fun time with family and friends.

I'm linking up with these parties:

Roses of Inspiration

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