Monday, November 21, 2016

Designing Wool Purses

I started making wool purses in August.  

This one is called Constellation, the front pocket gives me the impression of twinkling stars against the night sky.  The shell is made from a black wool coat deconstructed.  Love this black wool with flecks of gray.  Let me get you a detail photo . . . hold on.

Purse # 4 "Constellation" a Black Wool with Gray Flecks

There are opportunities to make several purses out of one wool coat.  "Constellation" is purse#4 from the same wool coat.  The purse shell is sewn crazy quilt style from smaller pieces (leftover pieces of wool).  

Method: I use a rotary cutter to straighten edges of two pieces of wool.  Then I sew the wool pieces together using a zig-zag stitch.  

To cover the zig-zag--I cut a strip of printed black/brown cotton fabric; fold the raw edges under and pressed with an iron.  Laying that strip of fabric over the zig-zag, I top-stitched it in place.  

In the photo above is a purse#3 called "In Stitches" . . . 
I've turned the lower half of the finished purse inside out--so you can see the fancy interior wool pocket, pieced together and decorated with strips of printed fabrics.

Back to purse #4 called "Constellation"  . . . sometimes a "purse front" can get too busy looking, when sewing smaller pieces of wool together and top-stitching with decorative fabrics.  

Knowing when and how to edit is important.

 In the photo above I peel back the solid wool front pocket facing to show you the very busy purse shell.  It was just too much, too busy.

To edit (correct this) I added a solid wool front pocket to hide the busy piecing.  To finish, I chalked several lines on the plain pocket and stitched beads of blue, purple, and gold.

So--here's the finished purse #4 "Constellation"   

The cross-body strap is made from 1" wide black grosgrain ribbon length of 42", and top-stitched with a 1/2" wide strip of black/brown printed fabric.  

The evening before building purses #3 "In Stitches" and #4 "Constellation" I made 50 polymer clay beads with all the leftover colors of clay I'd been saving in a small plastic bag.  

Purse #3 "In Stitches"
Once again, I zig-zag stitched together smaller pieces of leftover black wool and covered seams with strips of top stitched printed fabric.  Double row of wavy running stitches in DMC No 8 perle cotton. 
An off-set button yo-yo, and handful of my random batch of polymer clay beads to make my signature zipper closure.

Black Wool Purse #4 "In Stitches" 

I've discovered that my hobby of purse  building, and my other hobby of making polymer clay beads work hand in hand.  When I throw random clay colors together to make a batch of beads--it influences my selection of fabrics to build a purse.  

I admit--while I'm building the beads I'm creating the next purse in my mind and planning how I will use the beads.  I don't let any time lapse between the two processes for fear I'll lose my momentum.

Black Wool Purse #2

The beads arranged "Shower Curtain Style" on the front pocket. 

Purse #2 was created from a large piece of the same black wool coat including 42" long cross-body strap.   After I wrestled with the very thick layers of the carrying strap I chose black grosgrain ribbon for later purses #3 and #4.  

Random beads for zipper pull and pocket decoration.  Before I sold this purse I removed the dark thread top-stitching and chose a matching thread . . . that means I took off all the beads and started over again.  Sometimes, things are just wrong and need to be corrected. 

Black Wool Purse #1 from the same black coat.

Decorated with random polymer clay bead batch, yo-yos, buttons, and simple embroidery stitches of No. 8 DMC perle cotton.

Black wool purse #1

Note:  all of these black wood purses sold within the first hour of my August show.  There were two fun gals I met who both like the same two black wool purses, and each gal had in mind their first and second pick.  It was a matter of deciding which of the gals (friends) would get the first pick.  

I added my two cents and suggested they go ahead and buy both purses now, as they could determine later who would get first pick.  I feared they might walk away to ponder the problem and possibly lose the purses to another prudent buyer.   

All my purses are padded and lined.  They feature an interior pocket and hidden pocket inside.  The hidden pocket is great storage for your passport or folded receipts you need to store rather than having them swimming around in your purse (in your way).   The best function of this zippered purse is to carrying and protect your phone or tablet.  

I wear my everyday purse around my neck, making my shopping experience always hands-free.  I clip my ring of car/house keys to the strap rings at the top of the purse.  I prefer a front zippered purse because it keeps things from spilling out.  

There is still more of the black wool coat left.  My neighbor Renee is taking a class from me right now and she is decorating the black wool with couched wavy lime green yarn, and a needle felted pocket with a dandelion type flower highlighted with No. 8 perle cotton and glass beads.  Let's keep in touch and I will post photos of Renee's finished purse.

By the way . . . my dear friends

Our Saturday/Sunday Oct 29/30 Halloween Victorian House Tour and Craft Show (at our house) was so successful.  What a turn out!  Thank you, thank you, thank you.   

Donations for the Humane Society of Waupaca County were fabulous and so were their staff Faye and Monica. 

Our talented craft show vendors Jerry, Patti, Kay, Jenny, Jan, Jane, Krissy, Deb, and Cathy enjoyed showing and selling their beautiful items. 

Our resourceful crew: Sandy the kitchen manager, Patricia the studio manager, delightful greeters Jean and Diane, and wonderful neighbors Renee and Steve--how can I ever begin to thank you for your support (and giving us your entire weekend).  You made it happen!

There were two days of delicious chili and dessert lunch provided by Scandinavia Library Group,   Melissa, Jane, and Sue--you are the best.  

If I left anyone out--please write or call me so I can update this post.  I confess, I'm getting so forgetful.  My brain, my brain--where did I put it?

And finally, a big thank you to our community.  You are wonderful beyond words.   We are in awe of the number of people who came by to see us during the event, some from far far away.  YOU are forever in my heart for making this event so successful.

Mrs. D (Linda and Jon)


Thursday, October 6, 2016

Halloween Weekend Victorian House Tour and Craft Show - Sat/Sun Oct 29 & 30 - 10a until 5p

255 Mill St. - Scandinavia, Wisconsin  54977
Halloween Weekend – Saturday Oct 29 and Sunday 30 – 10:00a to 5:00p

Take a historic tour of the Wrolstad-Quien Victorian at 255 Mill Street in Scandinavia, Wisconsin Halloween weekend.  We are asking for a modest donation of $2 per person--all going to The Humane Society of Waupaca County.  Enjoy chili and dessert by Scandinavia Library in the Red Garage.



Our Queen Anne Style Victorian was built in 1893 by John and Mathea Wrolstad--owners of a successful logging business.  

Back row, left to right standing: sons and daughter Alfred, Sina, and James.  Second row, seated: son Martin, parents John Olsen and wife Mathea, and son John.  Littlest ones: Henry, Mabel, and Josephine.  
I believe this photo of our house was taken about 1905
The girl second from the left is Mabel Wrolstad youngest daughter of John Olsen Wrolstad and his wife Mathea.  

The second owners, Thomas and Maren Quien family owned the house for 90 years.

Standing, left to right: Bessie, Gusta, Peter, Ragnhild, 
with parents: Thomas and Maren (Gurholt) Quien.
photo c. 1910 - Second Owners

Thomas Quien with grand-daughters Mary Jane and Donna (children of Ruth and Peter Quien)
photo taken about 1926

Jon and I purchased the house in 2007 beginning a 7 year restoration.  We are delighted to show you all the ornate features of the house; faux bois woodwork, pocket doors, fret work (spandrels), 5-window bay, corbels, 3-window cut-aways, wrap around porch, summer kitchen, Juliet balcony, stained glass window, etched glass doors, wavy-glass windows, spoon carved woodwork, 1917 cook stove, 1916 parlor stove, and original hardware.  Be sure to see the displays of photographs and personal items belonging to the Quien family.

Kitchen - March 2008

Before: North Bedroom Upstairs

After: North Bedroom Upstairs

Let me tell you a little bit more about our CRAFT SHOW artists— and more about our restoration.

1. Jerry Johnson of Iola is a master rug weaver for more than 35 years.  At the Halloween Victorian Tour and Craft Show Jerry will demonstrate the frugal Scandinavian method of turning old clothing into beautiful woven rugs for the home.   Also--Jerry will demonstrate many antique and vintage sewing machines he restored. 

Jerry will tell you the history of portable hand crank sewing machines like this turn of the century Singer La Vencedora Model 128 he restored.  A 3/4 size petite sewing machine, it is ready to take to the cabin for a bit of relaxation and sewing!  

As as a teenager Jerry was already helping his Mother and Aunt sort old clothing by weight, texture, and color in preparation for rug weaving.  Jerry says, “cotton and wool make great rugs, but the real artistry of combining fabrics to create pattern, color, and texture—it all begins with my 1932 Singer hand crank sewing machine Model 99 . . . made of good old cast iron, and no plastic.”

Jerry studied with master weavers: Ken Colwell of Mineral Point, Joanna Ericksen of Boston, and Peter Collingwood of England.  Jerry says he loves to weave rugs, because it keeps a connection to the past alive.  He says, “people relate to the art of rug weaving—many people share stories of family members who made rag rugs, and that makes me smile.” 


2.  Jane Berkholtz  and daughter Krissy Samson have good news to share about their business "Just Hangin' aRound" and will show you some wonderful ways to decorate your home during the Fall and Winter with beautiful holiday wreaths, and table centerpieces.

Born and raised in New London, Jane moved to the Shawano area in 2010.  She's been doing arrangements and wedding flowers for more than 20 years now  Jane tells me, her husband Keith helps with all the wood cutting and new display ideas, while her daughter Krissy Samson created the business logo and facebook page Just Hangin' aRound."  Jane and Krissy look forward to meeting you at the Halloween Weekend Victorian House Tour.  Come browse their collection of wreaths and table centerpieces--and see how they've decorated our old Victorian House.

Our Red Dining Room

3.  Sisters Cathy Larson and Deb Kettenhofen - have lots of beautiful items to show you at our Craft Show.  

Cathy learned to sew as part of 4H. She started out sewing clothes, but expanded into quilting after visiting quilt shops with her mother.  Cathy is also active in paper crafts and card making.  Her business Wood 'n Stitches began several years ago.  

Deb--(Cathy's sister) works more with yarn and thread.  Learning sewing and knitting in 4H she's a quilter too just like her mother and sister.  Her interest in machine embroidery took off several years ago when she read some articles on thread art.  Soon she was offering beautiful embroidered flour sack towels for drying dishes.  When I met Deb and Cathy this summer at a craft show in Wausau I was dazzled by the sisters' booth.  I remarked--the towels are almost too pretty to use.  Deb says, "who says dish towels can't be pretty."    

West Bedroom - Wall Repairs Finished Smooth - Ready for Paint

4.  Patty Kirchner - "Nature's Treasures--All Things Beautiful from The Earth and Sea" 
Patty is a designer of fine sterling silver jewelry.  The materials she uses are natural items: Gemstones, Pearls, Shells, Polished Stones, Sea Urchin Spines, Seeds from Hawaii, Mother of Pearl, and even Wood Beads.  Patty happily admits, "I pride myself in using only the best materials and guarantee all of my work."

Patty's expertise includes sterling silver wire-wrapping and hand-setting stones herself to make each jewelry piece perfect.  I am pleased Patty is joining us for this year's Halloween Weekend Victorian House Tour and Craft Show where you can see, feel, and enjoy her handcrafted Earrings, Necklaces, and Bracelets./


5.   Kay Durrant of Sheridan, WI demonstrate the time honored tradition of wood carving.  What started out as a hobby for Kay turned into teaching wood carving classes at Fox Valley Tech.  Currently she is teaching several classes a week and her classes are always full.

I’m so happy to have Kay here as a featured artist so you can meet her in person and watch her carve. If you ant to know more about wood carving, Kay is the person to talk to.  She'll have a selection of her wood carvings for sale at our open house.
Arched spandrel, east window bay, Living Room
(June 2007 - blowing insulation into walls, installing new ceiling)

Linda touching up faux bois finish on woodwork with artist brush and oil paints.
Living Room  - 2008

Repairing Walls - 2007
Repairing Downstairs Bedroom (formerly the Parlor)

2008 - Downstairs Bedroom Finished


6.  Jenny Vater - Tie Dyed Clothing and More

I met Jenny at a craft show and was so delighted to buy a half dozen of her colorful tie dyed dish towels.  Recently I wrote to her and asked how she got started . . . .

Jenny replied:
I am a stay-at-home-mother of four children.  I love sewing, tie dyeing, gardening running and cross country skiing.  I started dyeing everything white in our house to practice different dye techniques in order to make a ring sling to carry my baby.  I fell in love with ice dyeing.  90% of my work is ice dyed, which results in unique and beautiful colors.  Most of my dyed items are purchased new and some are upcycled from "like new" pieces.  I enjoy turning something ordinary into extraordinary.  I use professional fiber reactive dyes that are permanent (no fading) and rinse the unbond dye thoroughly (no bleeding).

Long Hallway Upstairs - 2011
Process of Saving the Walls throughout the House

Long Hallway Upstairs - 2013
Wall Repairs Finished and
Jon re-installing picture rail found in attic


Wall Repair - Stairwell 2013

Jon working on bathroom 
Installing 3/4" beadboard

Kohler Clawfoot Tub
born May 12, 1903, Plant Line #2 Kohler, WI, about 11:30 in the morning
according to tub serial number and Kohler mfgr. records

7.  Linda Durrant - long arm quilter, Scandinavia WI.  My husband and I are the restorers of this old Victorian.  I will be displaying and selling my queen size bed quilts, baby quilts, table runners, over-sized fancy quilted potholders and my signature beaded zipper pull purses.

Be sure to check out all the 1950s restored VINTAGE SEWING MACHINES "For Sale" in my SECOND STORY STUDIO above the RED GARAGE.

1950's Nelco Model 1603, Ser. #70
I call her "Miss America"--she's so pretty.  

My studio where I make quilts and purses . . .

Finished Earth Tone Quilt

Detail of quilting on "Stars 'n Scraps" quilt

Long Arm Quilting of "Stars 'n Scraps" queen size quilt in Linda's studio (Victorian homeowner)

"Night Shirts" quilt

Detail of long arm quilting, "Night Shirts" quilt

Long Arm Quilting "Navy Blue" queen size quilt.  Linda experiments using freezer paper cutouts.

 Quilting around the freezer paper leaf template.

Orange Crush - Hand Applique - Queen Size Quilt

Detail of Hand Applique - Queen Size Quilt by Linda Durrant

Crazy Blue Jeans Quilt featuring machine embroidered and fabric yo-yos 

Hand stitching binding on "Cheese Platter" queen size quilt
Hand stitching binding on "Cheese Platter" queen size quilt

antique buffet in the red dining room

REMINDER:  The Halloween Weekend Victorian House Tour is:
Saturday Oct 29 and Sunday Oct 30
10:00a until 5:00p

DON'T FORGET-- there is a great lunch of chili and dessert by the Scandinavia Library Group in the Red Garage.

I'm looking forward to seeing you at our Victorian House Tour--Halloween weekend.  Can't wait to talk to you!