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Clever Penguin

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Ok, so I haven’t been blogging for a year. But I’m still playing along with Sophie’s Flea Market Find of the Year! I’ve had a hard time deciding, so I’ve narrowed it down to a few that are my latest favorites.

This past weekend I picked up these two gorgeous ladderback chairs at a church’s yard sale. They were leftover from an estate sale, and I was given the gift of a story by the man who sold them to me.

The chairs were his mother-in-law’s and the seats are needlepoint stitched by her and her sister. He also shared that her father was a local landowner and owned quite a bit of the area and that her grandfather was appointed to a gov’t post by Woodrow Wilson.

Antique Ladderback Chairs

This chest of drawers is a mystery to me, but it’s completely wood and was only $5 at one of our local DAV stores. Although the veneer is peeling up in a spot, it looks fixable and if I’m very gentle sanding it, I think I can restain it. Otherwise it’ll get a paint job. Can you see the way the top of the profile meets in the middle and almost looks only decorative? That’s actually side by side drawers!

Chest of Drawers

My last pick would have to be our new (original) Atari. For only $1 it was a real steal, because they can run upwards of $50 depending on where you find them. Now we play Pacman, Frogger, Space Invaders and more. Fun!

Atari and Games

If you haven’t had time to check out the other entries in the Flea Market Find of the Year, you can check it out at:

Her Library Adventures



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Fan of Holmes?

My girl and I are huge fans of Sherlock Holmes. Actually our whole family loves the British TV series starring Jeremy Brett. He’s an amazing Holmes!

We also love the Laurie R. King series starring an older Holmes. I won’t give anything away, but if you’re a Holmes fan, do try them out. They’re very good, enough so that the author was inducted into the Baker Street Irregulars.

So, to spread the Holmes love, let me share a giveaway by Kelly of A Stuffed Life. Kelly makes handmade teddy bears, and she has created a beautiful Sherlock Holmes inspired cuff with houndstooth, vintage buttons and other beautiful things.

Holmes Cuff

You can enter her giveaway here.


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This past weekend was fun and busy. I saw the inside of several thrift stores and a church yard sale.

I’m coming down with a cold, so no lallygagging this morning. Here are the lovelies!


Stack 'o Books


A bunch of wonderful books. All but one of these are from the same sale, a small thrift shop booth set up at a local art show.




Two Hymnals. The one on the left is not from the booth. It’s St. Basil’s Hymnal published in 1935.  On the right is Spiritual Songs for Social Worship, published in 1881. Interestingly enough there are two hymns, handwritten and hand noted, affixed in the front.


Bobbsey Twins and AEsop's Fables


I was thrilled to find several children’s books at the booth. This Bobbsey Twins book was printed in 1918, a first printing I’m fairly sure given the Post-text ads in the back.

The other book is 1939 printing of Aesop’s Fables.


AEsop's Fables Cover


The forward is by GK Chesterton and the plates and cover by Arthur Rackham. As you can see, the pictures are amazing!


My Book House


The My Book House series is one of my favorites. The whole set was on my bookshelf when I was a child, courtesy of my dad’s childhood. I lucked out finding two of the 1920 editions of books two and three.


W&M Colonial Echo 1930 Yearbook


This 1930 yearbook, William & Mary’s Colonial Echo, is in fantastic shape also.




Just look at the portraits and pages!


Ads in the 1930 Colonial Echo


And check out the ads in the back of the yearbook.

If you’ve ever been to a church yard sale, you probably know that going late in the day can be an interesting experience. Most yard sales are fairly picked over by 10 a.m., but church sales have so many items that even late in the day there are sometimes great finds to be made.


Pyrex and glassware


Like this Pyrex bowl and Semco glass jar.


Margot Flower Prints


Or these flower prints signed Margot. The only lead I can find on these so far is that perhaps they are Mid-Century from Gold Bond Stamps redemption.


Atari and Games


Or an Atari with 9 games included. For only $1! My husband and daughter are in heaven. And yes, it works. We were playing Frogger and Pac-Man last night.

I’ll share some of my clothing finds soon, too. For now, I’m linking up to:

Flea Market Finds at Her Library Adventures

Thrift Share Monday at Apron Thrift Girl


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Of the three of us in this house, I’m the only regular coffee drinker. So when my old Mr. Coffee started to die and I decided to keep my Keurig for sometimes use rather than spending a small fortune on k-cups, I opted for a pour-over brewer by Melitta.

I’m really happy with my pot, however about a week ago I realized I was running out of paper filters. Oh no! I vaguely remember seeing a post somewhere about experimenting with a homemade filter. Now that I can do. So last Friday at my local fabric store I sneaked a peek in the remnants bin, and what did I find but a quarter yard of muslin. Just the thing!

I traced my last coffee filter on a piece of paper, laid one side of my new pattern on the fold of the muslin and cut out my new filter. Because this is sort of a prototype and there are a few things I’d like to fix about my coffee filters, I did make it longer. Check out the tracing pencil line on the muslin. See what I mean?

Filter pattern

Next I sewed up the other side and the base of the filter using an overlock type stitch. Easy Peasy!

Sewn Filter

The new filter fits fairly well, though perhaps it doesn’t need to overlap the top quite so much.

The filter in place

This morning was the perfect time to try it out. My new filter with the freshly ground joe waiting for the water.

Waiting. . .

The small space between my appliance garage and refrigerator is the perfect size for a tray that holds my pot, sugar, and creamer.

Coffee Corner

Time to pour the water over the grounds and see how things go.


The muslin is holding up well. It’s not sinking down, and the water isn’t just rushing right through it either. Great! Let’s see how the coffee tastes.

Cup of coffee made with muslin filter

The coffee is good! The only difference I’ve notice with the process is that it did take a bit longer than usual for the water to finish pouring through the muslin than through a paper filter. However I don’t think it was much longer, and I can live with that.

I’ll probably make a few tweaks to the design, but I’m happy with the idea! Now to make a few more filters so that I have more than one on hand.

What do you use for making coffee? Anyone else out there use a pour-over brewer or cloth filter? How about for tea? We do drink a fair bit of that in the winter, too!

This post is linked up to:

Wallet-Friendly Wednesday


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Thrifting is weird. Although I know it logically isn’t so, it seems to be either feast or famine. Some visits to local thrift shops, yard sales and flea markets yield only a sunburned nose, tired toes, and a handful or steel crochet hooks or some vintage toy note paper. But other times there are so many treasure that you feel like a Clever Penguin indeed! This was one of those weeks, so here are just a few of the things that have made their way home with me.



Ironstone plates

Two lovely ironstone plates from Independence Ironstone (back). The saucer in the front is a Meakin in the Fair Winds pattern. The Fair Winds transferware pattern is based on original copper engravings depicting historical scenes of Chinese export to America. This particular saucer has a picture of New York Harbor during 1830. It’s in excellent condition without any crazing. Now if I can just find the matching teacup!


vase, platter and lampe berger

Vase, King Quality Platter, and Lampe Berger

I also found this lovely little aqua colored vase. It’s perfect to store my vintage knitting needles. Next to it is a pretty platter by King Quality (a Japanese company). Although it’s a little warped in the center and has some crazing and a bit of staining, I love it. It should look just fine once it’s had a peroxide bath!

The glass pyramid in the front was an interesting find. When I saw it, I though it might be a perfume bottle, but then I turned it over and the glass reads Lampe Berger. Now I knew that was familiar, but I still wasn’t positive that it was what I thought. At only 58¢, I thought I could take a chance. On arriving home I headed for my computer to see if I was right about what my mysterious glass pyramid was. For those who are wondering, a Lampe Berger is considered one of the best ways to remove odors and fragrance the air. Mine is missing its silver top and catalytic stone/wick, however those can be purchased online. I’m pretty excited by this find, because we’ve looked at these on and off for years, and they are super pricey.


Bag o' Buttons

Bag o' Buttons

This past weekend also yielded a large ziploc bag full of buttons. As you can see it doesn’t quite fit into my huge jar. There are some great buttons in it, as well as a 45 converter (on the left) along with a few hatpins.


Pretty tray

A pretty black tray with flowers. There’s still a sales sticker on the back. Apparently the owner purchased it from McCrory‘s for 39¢. McCrory’s was an old Five and Dime, and for much of my childhood there was still one in the town I grew up in. I can remember all of the elderly men, who looked absolutely ancient to me at the time, sitting around the lunch counter and drinking coffee.


Glasbake and Pyrex Butter Dishes

I also found two pyrex butter dishes and a Glasbake loaf pan. Glasbake is similar to Pyrex, and I’m happy to have another loaf pan for our homemade bread.


Glass Plates with Flowers

These pretty glass plates from the Fifties were a huge hit with my daughter. They’re really sweet, and the scalloped edges with the pearlized gold and silver paint is lovely.


Vintage Fabric

One of my very favorite finds, although picking a favorite is somewhat like picking a favorite child, is this fabric. It looks vintage and is really beautiful. It’s in perfect condition. Both the blue and the pink have about 4 yds there, enough to do a real sewing project with.


Closeup of Fabric

Closeup of Fabric

I’m not sure how well it shows up, but although the main background is solid, the print is sheer. Both pieces are just gorgeous!

All in all, an excellent showing for this week’s thrifting!

I’m linking up today to:

Thrift Share Monday on Apron Thrift Girl

Flea Market Finds on Her Library Adventures



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(or the Ballard-Inspired Linen Bag Holder)

Although I love looking through catalogs, it’s usually the small and unusual things which catch my eye. So when the Ballard Designs catalog arrived in the mail, the page with the Burlap Bag Holder was immediately dog-eared.

Plastic bags seem to multiply in our house, and at the moment, those bags are multiplying under the sink in my laundry room. So this bag holder thing? A fantastic way to corral those krinkly bunnies.

But the thing is, I didn’t want to spend fifteen dollars on the Burlap Bag Holder. Especially when I was pretty sure I could make it myself.

The solution? Some linen leftover from an earlier project! Here’s what I did:

Note: at the moment this isn’t really a tutorial, more like a guide.




  • (2) 8″ x 17″ pieces of Linen – front and back
  • (2) 3″ x 17″ pieces of Linen – sides
  • (2) 8″ x 8″ pieces of Linen – flap
  • (1) 1.5″ x 7″ piece of Linen – hanging loop
  • (1) 1/2″ x 3″ piece of Linen – button loop
  • vintage 5/8″ ribbon
  • 3/8″ elastic
  • vintage quatrefoil button
  • I also cut the shape I wanted for the flap out of a piece of paper

Sewing the flap

After trimming the flap pieces to the correct shape, I pinned them right sides together and sewed around the edges, leaving free the top and a small hole at the bottom center for the button loop. I turned the pieces right side out and pressed the flap flat (try saying that five times fast!).

Back and Sides seamed together & flap placed for seaming

The next step was to join the back of the bag with the two sides. After seaming these pieces together, I trimmed the seams and pressed them toward the sides.  I also pressed the back/flap seam toward the body of the bag.

Up next? To sew the flap to the back, right side to right side, of course.

The bag was still missing its front, so I added that piece. I again clipped the seams between the front and sides and pressed them toward the side panels.

Pretty Vintage Ribbon

Pretty Vintage Ribbon

Here’s where I hemmed the top and bottom (leaving the bottom open!) of the bag. I used some pretty vintage ribbon from my stash as seam binding. It makes for a nice finish and a lovely surprise when adding bags or peeping inside.

After adding a hem to both the top and bottom of the bag, I also sewed on the ribbon to use as a channel for my elastic.

Then I added the elastic.  I was halfway there!

Pressing the side seams

Pressing the side seams

Turning the bag right side out, I pressing the side seams first. . .

The bag is starting to have some structure!

The bag is starting to have some structure!

I then ran a 1/4 inch seam (french seam) down the sides where they met the front and the back. This gave a bit of structure to the bag.

Final Steps

Final Steps with a high tech tool, the stick

Final steps:

  1. Sewing the two loops, turning them right side out and pressing them
  2. Pinning the smaller loop inside the hole left at the center bottom of the flap
  3. Sewing a 1/4 inch seam around the edges of the flap
  4. Sewing a stick, trimmed to the width of the flap. into the top of the flap at the back (see photo below). This helps to stabilize the bag when it’s hanging.
  5. Sewing the longer loop to the center back of the top of the bag for hanging
Nearly finished!

Nearly finished!

And finally, time to add the button!

The Ballard-inspired Linen Bag Holder

Ta-da! The Ballard-inspired Linen Bag Holder

I’m so happy with the way this project turned out! The linen has less structure than burlap, but still plenty for this bag holder.

Pretty ribbon!

Pretty ribbon!

I love that the vintage ribbon gives it a bit of charm, as does the vintage quatrefoil button!

Love it!

Definitely a success in my book and a great way to hide all of those rapidly multiplying plastic bags!

I’m linking this post up to

Visit thecsiproject.com



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