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Y’all might be aware that I’ve had two shops on Etsy for some time now–ThoughtfulRose, for selling some of the things I make with recycled yarns and plastic bags, and ThoughtfulOldRose, where I sell vintage paper ephemera and books.  While I’ve kept the ThoughtfulOldRose shop stocked and active, I put the ThoughtfulRose shop on vacation for an extended time while I worked on some other projects.  Now, however, it’s back up and running, though with only a handful of listings, and it might take me a little while to get it fully stocked.  You can visit it here:

Thoughtful Rose

And if you want to visit my vintage papers and books shop, you’ll find it here:

Thoughtful Old Rose

A few months ago, I crocheted a couple of sets of doily coasters.  One set gets regular use; the other set I decided to put in my Etsy shop, so this morning I took a few photos.  I decided that a cup of tea would make a nice photo prop.  Then, of course, I had to drink the tea.  I think I will have to try to use cups of tea as photo props more often.

Sunshine Yellow Doily Coasters

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Yarn At Last

We’re a long way from cool weather here in Texas, but my internal clock is still telling me to prepare for the coming winter.  I’ve been crocheting scarves and hats with the yarns I have on hand, but my color selection isn’t great, so every time I head to a thrift store or second-hand shop (which is often) I look for sweaters to unravel.  Sadly, the thrift stores here, for the most part, haven’t been putting out warm things yet.  But yesterday I finally found a Goodwill that had a good selection of sweaters.

Usually, I think Goodwill’s prices are a bit high at $5.99 per sweater.  But since the cheaper thrift shops aren’t selling sweaters yet, I splurged on four.

Thrift Store SweatersFrom top left to bottom right, an acrylic/wool/angora blend, a wool/acrylic blend, a wool/angora/cashmere blend, and 100% cotton.

As an added bonus, two of the sweaters I bought had interesting buttons.  The brown sweater has big round brown plastic buttons.

Big Brown Button

The green sweater has neat toggle buttons.  They are made of resin but look like horn.  Toggle buttons are nice because they can slip between crochet stitches more easily, eliminating the need for buttonholes.

Resin Toggle Button

These sweaters smelled strongly of highly perfumed detergent, so I put them in the washing machine (on delicate cycle, of course) with an unscented, hypoallergenic detergent.  I can’t wait till they’ve washed and dried and I can start unravelling.  Unravelling is therapeutic work, in my opinion.  So is crocheting, of course, but only once I’ve finalized the design, as the designing part is a little more stressful; and since I rarely make the same thing the same way twice, there is usually some designing involved with each piece.

I ought to make a tutorial on how to unravel a sweater.  But this week is busy with fall housecleaning (hopefully), and hosting a gathering on Saturday; and next week will be busy too, with more housecleaning, and hopefully starting some sort of homeschool routine with my two children.  My children aren’t technically school age yet, but I think they would benefit from a bit more routine, and I know that they would enjoy doing “school” like their big-kid friends, even if it’s only for an hour or two per day.

Time to start the morning’s housework.  Have a happy Wednesday!

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I’m in trouble…

I just discovered www.ravelry.com.

I mean, I’d heard of ravelry before, but was put off by the fact that you have to sign up for access; today, however, I finally took the plunge and signed up.  Wow, what a wealth of patterns and information!  I could spend hours on this site!

This is bad because I really don’t need to be spending any more time online.  I also really don’t need to start any new projects.

The reason I signed up for Ravelry today was because I was looking for doily patterns.  I wanted doily coasters.  Yet at the moment, I’m halfway through a yellow doily which will be much too big to use as a coaster.  Why?  Good question.  But it sure is pretty.

To clarify, this pattern didn’t come from Ravelry; I discovered Ravelry as I was taking a break from crocheting, somewhere around row 10.  This pattern came from a vintage crochet pattern book of my mom’s.  The yellow crochet thread and the hook also came from her stash.  I would have preferred to make a cream-colored or ecru doily, but the yellow was just there in the yarn box wanting to be used up, so use it up I shall.

I’ve never made something so totally useless.  I always make things that have some practical purpose, like bags to carry things, quilts to keep people warm, etc.  This doily serves no purpose other than being pretty.  Maybe I will sew it to a pillow or something.  Pillows are practical.

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Happy Independence Day!

This postcard was printed in 1907 or 1908.

It’s available for purchase in my vintage Etsy shop.

*EDIT* The card has now been sold, sorry.

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Once a week or so, I have a few hours of free time to spend in downtown Houston. I usually head to my favorite spot in Hermann Park, where I read, think, and crochet with plarn. Yesterday, I thought to take my camera.

This is my favorite spot. I sit in the cool shade and enjoy the breeze coming off the water. In the background is the Texas Medical Center.

My bench overlooking the medical center

The view from my spot. There are usually a few paddleboats on the pond, but the day was winding down by the time I took this picture.
The view from my bench
These guys (and a few seagulls, and squirrels, and turtles) keep me company while I work.

Ducks at the park

Here’s the project I was working on yesterday. I think this is going to be a new diaper bag. My last one (also crocheted from plarn) wore out from several years of heavy use. I didn’t toss it, though–I unraveled it and used the good sections of plarn to finish another project. Plarn is really easy to unravel and re-use.

My latest plarn project

Do you have a favorite spot to work on your craft?

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Since I craft with plastic bags, I think about them a lot. I follow with interest when local and national governments discuss the possibility of taxing or even banning plastic bags. Somehow, though, I didn’t realize until just this afternoon that China banned the flimsy variety of plastic bags almost two years ago. Banned them completely–their manufacture, sale, and distribution.

In July of 2009, some people held a forum in Beijing to discuss the effects of the plastic bag ban’s first year. Here’s a link to the transcript of that forum discussion.

China’s Bag Ban, One Year Later

Sounds like in spite of spotty enforcement, the ban had been quite successful at reducing plastic waste.

“Our survey, conducted over more than a year, found that the number of plastic bags in garbage has reduced by over 10%. Beijing produces over 20,000 tonnes of garbage a day, with 10% — about 2,000 tonnes of that – being plastic bags. A 10% reduction means 200 tonnes less garbage.”


I’m not saying that I advocate a complete ban on plastic bags. But I do think that a tax on plastic bags–or requiring stores to charge for them–makes good economic and environmental sense. Even five cents a bag would be enough to motivate a lot of people to remember those reusable bags they already have sitting at home.

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The Houston Chronicle

I don’t accumulate many plastic bags myself, as I generally shop with reusable bags (they’re so much nicer, anyway). So in order to make my plastic bag crochet projects, I gather used plastic bags from family, friends, and strangers (via Freecycle).

I’m given a lot of newspaper bags. I believe they’re from the Houston Chronicle. Apparently, the Houston Chronicle is delivered in a different color bag every day–many soft shades of gray, green, blue, mauve, and more. I’ve accumulated quite a stash of these bags. Check it out.

The photos don’t really do the colors justice. I think it’s my cheapo camera. Still, aren’t these colors great?

My favorites are the greys. I love grey. I’ve been a big fan of grey for the last fifteen years. (And yes, I spell grey with an “e” even when my spell-checker argues with me.)

I spend way too much time looking through these bags and coming up with the best color combinations for my next projects (and not enough time actually getting to work).

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