Saturday, January 23, 2010

20th Century Family Physician - An Amazing Vintage Book Find

I usually moan and roll my eyes when my boyfriend brings something that he's found in the trash into our apartment. However, when it's something like this, I have to give him credit: he found gold. The 20th Century Family Physician, A Popular Guide for the Household Management of Disease published by John R. Stanton Co. in 1929 is a 1,130 page tome on all physical maladies, from "Constitutional Diseases" to "Diseases of Women and Children."

While I don't want to belabor the point that we've come a long way since 1929, I'll just throw out one quote to demonstrate this point:
"Man is essentially strong and selfish; woman, weak and generous. In man embodied the individual; in woman, the race...a fact illustrated by...peculiarities of women: In breathing, the child and the man employ largely the muscles of the abdomen; woman, on the contrary, breathes almost entirely with the chest, because of the mutual performance for her sexual duties compels the use of her abdomen muscles for other purposes than those of breathing."
 Seems like sound scientific reasoning to me. Anyway, here's the pictures.

Many of the color plates in this book have layers to them that you can lift up to reveal levels of the human anatomy. Very cool and also icky.


I'm wracking my brain to come up with a craft worthy of this book...if you have any great ideas let me know.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Vintage Valentine Restoration with Free Card Download

Over the past few years I've been collecting vintage cards just for the pleasure of having them too look at. From time to time I take them out of their box and just leaf through them, admiring the illustrations and enjoying the messages written on them. 

I've always wanted to do something with them, but what? I couldn't bare to cut them up for collage or paste them onto anything. I finally had the brainstorm of digitally restoring them and reusing them just as they were intended - as cards. 

You can see here how just a little digital retouching and color brightening can give an old treasure new life. 

If you'd like to give this card to your sweet-heart you can download it here.

Happy (early) Valentines Day!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tutorial - Creative Inspiration Pillow with Free Embroidery Swirl Pattern

Some of the best inspiration I get for crafting is from the tools that I use. Something about a cool vintage sewing machine stirs my imagination - that's why I chose a funky sewing machine graphic for this project. You could use any icon to express your favorite source of inspiration - knitting needles, paint brushes, books...whatever inspires you.

You’ll Need:
  22" x 22" pillow (or other size that you have on hand)
  medium weight light color woven fabric,  1 yard (or enough to cover your pillow)
  iron on transfer paper for light colored fabric
  inspiration clip art (I used some of my own from my Etsy shop - insert shameless self promotion - but you can use whatever you like!)
  swirls design (download here)
  embroidery floss in fun colors
  embroidery hoop and needle

How to Make It:

1 - Cut the fabric for the pillow case
-Measure the dimensions of your pillow.
-Add 1/2” to the width and 1/2” to the height. My pillow was 22” x 22” so my final measurement is 22 1/2” x 22 1/2”. You will sew it together with a 1/2" seam allowance so this will make your pillow case nice and snug.
-Measure and mark the final dimension directly onto the wrong side of your fabric using a ruler and chalk.
-Cut two squares

2 - Apply the iron on transfer
-Print out your clip art on paper first to help you decide where and what size you want the image to be.
-Print your image on to a sheet of iron on transfer paper. Remember to reverse the image!
-Cut out the image from the transfer paper leaving a 1/4” edge around it.
-Iron the transfer on to the front piece of your pillow fabric following the directions for the transfer paper.
Hint: Be sure to press hard and keep your iron moving to ensure the transfer sticks well. 

3 - Embroider the Swirls
-Print out the swirl pattern. You will need to tile it on several pages and tape it together if you can't print to tabloid sized paper. If you don't know how to do this it's a really handy trick. You can find out how here for Adobe products like Acrobat, Photoshop, and Illustrator.
-Place the swirl designs under your fabric and lightly trace over it with a pencil.
-Embroider your swirls using several fun colors of embroidery floss. If you’re new to embroider and want to learn, Sublime Stitching has my favorite online tutorials.

4 - Sew the pillow together
- Right sides together, sew the pillow pieces together with a 1/2" seam allowance. Leave about 6" open on the bottom edge.
- Press the seams open making sure the corner seam allowances are neatly pressed.

- Turn the pillowcase right side out and press it again.
- Stuff the pillow into the pillow case.
- Hand stitch the opening closed.
- Admire your work!