Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Bit Frustrated...

I spent last week and the weekend working very hard to complete my crewel project that I'm going to teach next summer at my local EGA chapter. I think it's pretty cool and I can't show it off until after our January meeting (happily it's at the beginning of the month). sigh. I hope the members like it.

But it means I don't have any needlework to show and share this week.

I spent last night browsing some old Christmas magazines-Better Homes & Gardens from 1970. It kind of made me smile...all of today's talk about recycling, reusing--repurposing wasn't a word back then but if it had been, they'd have used it! The gifts were hand made--dips in bell pepper cups, cookies and candies galore, and very creative ornaments and wrappings. Wire mesh was prominent in several designs. Used plastic of all types was utilized to make interesting, creative and just plain strange decorations and gifts.This isn't a recycled project, but I've wanted to make this wax ball ornament since the 70s. Back then, I was quite intimidated by the many steps and working with wax. By the time my skills were up to it, I couldn't find the right images. One day I still expect it will all come together.This train is a marvel of creative recycling. It looks pretty cool. I'd be happy to see the candy filled cars under my tree.I made some of these. We all trooped into the local hardware store and baffled the guys by buying random legs and finials and such. Everything was antiqued and now it looks so old fashioned. We also made our own candles--I had a disaster with a sand candle where the damp sand soaked through the cardboard box. We were scraping wax off the wall for years. But if you look toward the middle left, I still think those very simple red tapers in a row of weighted blue ball ornament candle holders are lovely.I spent a lot of time in the 70s playing with paper mache. I never made a huge outdoor ornament like this (and even back then I suspected anything anyone made at home would not look like the magical vignettes in the photos), but I did make lots of big, fun pinatas using this technique. If you look by the door to the left, there are tree-like towers from pentagons glued together into dodecahedrons and color plastic inserted in the round openings. I had those paper pentagons (I was very much into geodesics and tensegrity and all sorts of 3-D geometric things)--I had a large open paper dodecahedron hanging in my room for ages. Creative repurposing at it's best. I've never had the nerve to make them (mostly because I can't quite imagine wearing them) but probably will one day. The necklace to the center left is garment hooks and eyes. The one on the center right is thimbles and tailor's thimbles (with no tops--so beads could be glued on) linked with more hooks and eyes. The purse barely visible on the right is snaps wired together.

The shawl on the left is 70s mesh fabric with ribbons threaded and looped through it--much to mundane for my tastes. By the time I saw this, I had already knit and crocheted myself several large and fringy shawls.

I generally pull out these two magazines once a year and dive into nostalgia. McCall's Needlework and Crafts and Better Homes and Gardens were staples in my childhood home. (Oh, and McCall's magazine--I was a great Betsey McCall fan!) I was well into adulthood before I realized the impact they had on me.


terryb said...

What a great idea--actually looking at all those magazines I've been "collecting" for so many years. To think of actually "using" them for something more than a way to fill up my shelves!! They'd practically earn their space--and I know there are some ideas in them that I meant to do. I was more into the crafting part then, too.

Susan said...

Oh, Marjorie– I've been thinking about spending some time with my boxes of these magazines, too! I did dig out all the "American Home" and that other magazine, you know, the ones that were so sophisticated and European for the 1970s?! I still have all the reeds and wood dowels for the art nouveau bed frame I was planning to make... sigh. Good times!

Jenny Woolf said...

Maybe I'm just stuck in the past but I like many of these items, and I also like the colourful presentation. I think it's time some of these were reissued, maybe with a slightly different presentation ! :)

As for the necklaces etc. made of oddments, one of the nicest and most admired bracelets I ever had was, of all strange things, made of safety pins and beads. It was made in Africa and it comprised many large safety pins each with small blue and black and white beads threaded on, held together with elastic. Sounds terrible I know but it was so beautiful! (maybe that was also of its era)

Judy S. said...

I'd totally forgotten about Betsy McCall. Do you remember shrink art? All those Brownie crafts....a long time ago but lots of fun!