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Behind the Scenes

If you’ve ever prepared Thanksgiving Dinner… or any special meal… you can appreciate the amount of planning and work that is involved.  The same is true with running a magazine.  By the time the printed magazine reaches your mailbox, your local newsstand or your favorite sewing machine dealer, it has experienced many iterations of edits and tweaks, love and care.   Some are often very subtle.  Here’s a photo of the different versions of the latest cover that is currently on newsstands. CoverBLThe back story on the ‘hero’ (magazine lingo for the finished sample on the cover) is quite interesting.  It began last June when I was recovering from a broken patella and humerus (not very funny).  My dear friend, Rita Farro, sent me a little sunshine in the form of four elegant hand-embroidered pillowcases that she recently scored at an estate sale. When I opened the box, I was hit with the aroma of that beautiful fresh-from-the-clothesline smell – straight from her country home in Iowa.  What a delight!  I was touched beyond words and determined to put them to good use.Cover2BLI planned on monogramming and transforming them into envelope pillows. At the time, all I could do was sit and look at these beautiful vintage linens. Weeks later, after I was back to driving, I made a trip to my local quilt shop, Must Have Fabric in Grapevine, TX. Must Have Fabric has at least 2,000 bolts – plenty to choice from. I was on the hunt for 1930s, 40s or 50s fabrics. I could envision the type of print and color way and surveyed the shelves. I found only one bolt that would work. It was the right color, scale and motif. I smiled, tucked it under my arm and got in line at the cutting table.  While waiting, I looked at the selvedge and low and behold, it was Mary Mulari’s Penny Rose fabric from Riley Blake!  How amazing is that?  You see, Mary and Rita are the YaYa Sisters – wonderful and talented presenters at national sewing shows and two of my dearest friends.  Everytime I look at that pillow, I remember the kindness Rita and Mary showered on me when I was under the weather. What luck it was to find Mary’s fabric – full circle, wouldn’t you agree?

I’m sure Rita’s not the only who likes to scour auctions, resale shops and antique stores. Do you like to do that? If so, are you looking for anything in particular?  Leave a comment and a random winner will receive

Here’s your assignment this week:

I’m sure Rita’s not the only who likes to scour auctions, resale shops and antique stores. Do you like to do that? If so, are you looking for anything in particular?  Leave a comment and a random winner will receive. One random winner will receive a $25 shopping spree coupon to the DIME website.

The winners of the last assignment answered the following question:

Have you had a ‘lightbulb’ go off recently?  Share your Aha moment with us and you could win a sewing room twin set! What’s a ‘sewing room twin set?’ Gifts from our friends at Euro-Notions – Grabbit magnetic pincushion and Bobbinsaver.

The winner is:  

Alice: “I have been doing embroidery over 20 years. One of the best things I have used is the Springs from the pens. I place that spring on the screw of the embroidery hoop. You can set the tension on the hoop and the spring gives you a little stretch and keeps the hoop tight as it needs to be.”





  • Dee Dickerson

    I often bid on box lots of doilies and hand embroidered items , they usually go for less than $10 ! My most treasured items tho are my grandmothers doilies and the stamped pillow cases she created while watching her soap operas in the afternoon . I also have a piece of lace tatted by a Spanish lady on the steps of the Prado Museum , this is hanging in my dining room, my 3.00 purchase!

  • Kate

    I love antique and vintage linens. My best find ever was a hand-embroidered Texas map from the Texas Centennial, which is going to (if I live that long) also be displayed at the Bicentennial in 2035.

  • Yvonne Carrington-Buss

    Lace It’s great to use as applique fabric or embellishment on designs.

  • Kristi Dennis

    I love old sewing machines so always on the look out. Now just to part with the shingles and pick up a couple.

  • Colleen Bell

    Oh, I have to stay out of those kind of places as I can never walk away. Those old linens, laces and sewing notions, just seem to have my name written all over them. They are all so beautiful.

  • Lester Ann Jensen

    I love old linens and lacey items, pretty hankies and I go through the box of old doilies. I had two aunts who have passed away long ago who did beautiful crochet work. Wherever they both went, they looked for crochet patterns that they didn’t happen to have. I have a couple of their pieces and they are treasures. I love to use the old linens, lace and hankies for crazy quilting and applique. I make quilts from denim and lace and everyone loves them. Therefore, I also scout out every second hand shop or good will shop for old blue jeans for my quilts.

  • Francine Meyer-Drasutis

    I love to find antique furniture that is broken. With some creativity I turn them in to pet beds..I and make pet bedding to match. Dogs love the old smell of the fabric.

  • Gail Beam

    I love to look for old linens and I love antique sewing machines. I have a couple of treadles that I have purchased, but I would have loved to have had my grandmother’s treadle.

  • Shirley Clark

    What a lovely gift! I do love to go to junk shops and any kind of shop that sells old things. I have a few hand embroidered table scarves my mom made, but she used most of hers all of the time so the majority of them were pretty worn out.
    We’ve also gone to some auctions that had some neat stuff. I won an old Simplicity pattern tin that I love.
    My latest score at a yard sale was a Brother sewing machine for $45.00. It was almost like brand new. The lady that sold it bought it at an estate sale, and she didn’t know how to thread it. I offered to show her, but she just wanted to sell it. I was SEW happy!

  • Ellen Perry

    I love old linens they remind me of my mother and the crochet she use to do but was burned in a fire. She gave me her love of seeing and handcrafts
    Ellen in Highland Village tx

  • Sara

    I enjoy going to antique and thrift shops, and on occasion yard sales to look for sewing items especially, embroidery tools and embroidered doilies and linens. I found some Maderia embroidered linens and tatted lace at great price. I would to find an intact antique embroidery kit.

  • Chris House

    My sister got me hooked on consignment stores, thrift stores, rummage/garage sales. She has fondly named the nationwide thrift store near her home as her Boutique. She often phones me with tales of her latest find–designer furniture, new high end clothes, vintage pottery. The best find she sent my way was a large bundle of Anna Maria Horner fat quarters from her first fabric collection. My good luck! Last fall at a rummage sale I found a Husqvarna Designer 1 w/ embroidery unit for $100. It needed a few accessories which I was able to locate on Craigslist. Technician who gave it a nice servicing told me it was well cared for and great machine.
    It’s the thrill of the hunt I think!

  • Michelle Hall

    I have a couple of hand crochet coverlets and an appliqued quilt that my grandmother made. I love to shop at garage sales and thrift stores to see what I can find and epurpose

  • Kristal

    I am not a ‘thrifter’ but have friends who are. It is amazing the things they find new uses for. My friend found a good quality flannel sheet for $2, and we turned it into a pair of pajama pants for my daughter! Genius!

  • Sandi Cunningham

    An open mind when thrifting is always the best. One time I found clip-on Victorian mini-candle holders and another time a bag of a sewist’s stash. Sometimes just the right lamp to paint and repurpose for a nursery pops up or a sewing chair screaming for an updated recover job. It really is a Treasure Hunt each time!

  • Kelly Sasman

    I love finding vintage aprons and also unfinished quilt tops. So much can be done with both, but to tell the truth, i love wearing the aprons everyday all day!

  • Meghan M.

    I’m a sucker for old wooden furniture. It’s hard to find something new that has the same appeal to me as something that’s already had another life! And I feel great knowing that by my purchase I’m not creating demand for a new low quality item that’ll end up in the landfill in a few years.

  • Valerie

    I’ve collected linen handkerchiefs for many years. My dear mother would scour tag/estate sales and often find them for me. Unfortunately I hate to use the most beautiful white on white one. Trying to think of a clever idea to use them in a pillow or wall hanging.

    • Pat

      Look up the pattern for the magic hankie. It is a baby bonnet to wear and be saved as a hankie for their wedding. It come with a little poem.

  • Tanya

    I have been an addict of flea market finds, pawn shop deals, yard sales…etc since the time i was old enough to go with my parents! open my own little thrift store in our neighborhood in an old family home when i was only 12!
    And FREE is always the best word! Love your posts.

  • Nancy Weber

    I love finding treasures such as vintage linens during my treks to garage sales and thrift shops. My grandmother, show practically raised me, and a maiden aunt who lived with her taught me to sew, crochet and hand embroider. However, a rift in family relations caused me to never see any of the beautiful thing these ladies did while they were alive. At least I have their creative legacy to remember them by and pass on to my children and grandchildren.

  • Sheri

    I tend to look for anything to do with sewing, knitting, spinning. Once I bought a little piece of polished wood. At the time I had no idea what it was but it looked handcrafting related somehow, I now think it’s a form to help darn glove fingers!

  • Sue Cubberley

    I often look for old rhinestone pins and other jewelry. I remake them into necklaces.

  • Pat Janowiak

    We love to stop at antique shows and scour through all the old linens. Sometimes I find the most lovely hand embroidered pillow cases, some with crochet along the bottom. When I saw your cover, it stopped me in my tracks! Just lovely! When we have company, I put the pillowcases on my guest beds, a little nostalgic and brings a smile a most faces~

    • Linda Severs

      One of my lovely daughters and I also sleep on antique pillowcases at times. I love the crocheted edgings created with rhythmic love.

  • Marti Morgan

    I use to visit every antique shop and garage sale – never bought “new” items for my house. But then I married and my husband has “busted” me, he weaned me off over the last 25 years. But I did get a trunk full of his grandmothers doilies and they are all over my house! She also quilted and crocheted.

  • karen

    I have been lucky enough to find unfinished quilts and stacks of quilt blocks. It is very exciting to find things I can use for my projects.

  • venita

    Oh, yes! I have a drawer full of beautiful needlework. I believe they call it an addiction.

  • Beth R

    I love to look for books and teacups – older books on nature topics, and floral teacups.

  • Phyllis Marshall

    I love to look for boxes of fabric. You never know what you will find. One box had some very old quilt patterns. I also like to find boxes of sewing stuff. So much fun.

  • Debbie Smith

    I love hankies and lace dollies. They remind me of my Great Aunt Eva that I would watch crocheting or tatting a gift for extra money. I have tried several times to learn how to learn tatting, but it is one craft I have not mastered. When I retire I want to do the girl hankie quilt.

  • April

    My favorite finds are old linens, furniture and glass bowls. Anything that looks like it came from a wonderful loving family. I love wondering about the stories that were shared in a family. Maybe I am silly anc romanticize the older days when family mattered. Ps thank you for keeping sewing, quilting,and embroidery, as an attainable fun hobby!

  • debe

    I have some wonderful hankies & linens from aunts that I have. There used to be more farm auctions with household items when I was younger & went with my family & my mom would bid on boxes of things. I loved the linens. Such beautiful handwork!

  • Suzy Cliff

    I am always looking for old items to transform into something new. I worry that I may be a bit obsesses as my growing collection of chenille bedspreads, sheet, comforters, etc. is taking over my sewing room! Last week I was in Richland Washington and found a mint green chenille bedspread with beautiful flowers. I had to carry it on the plane to get it home!

  • Colleen

    I like to look for furniture.

  • Donna G.

    I’ve found some great linens at flea markets and antique stores. Holes and tears are just opportunities for embroidered embellishments!

  • beth d.

    I go to estate sales and garage sales. Sometimes I find a piece of storage for my sewing room and sometimes I find good fabric to use.

  • Sara Redner

    Occasionally my friends drag me into those places but it really isn’t my thing. But just last week one of the ladies at quilting brought me some bags labeled “orphan quilt blocks” that she got at a thrift store. I’m not sure yet how they will all go together, but it may turn out to be amazing!

  • Linda Severs

    I am usually on the prowl for antique baby garments or crocheted linens, though I’ve been fortunate enough to come home with a few ladies nightgowns, three breathtaking blouses I can actually fit into if I don’t button the last button and one I cannot, a pair of seafoam bloomers with camisole and piles of laces just ready to be used. I love my antique linens!

  • Carol Dolly

    I love to sort through the vintage and antique linens and clothing at antique shops, resale shops and flea markets. They can be used for so many projects whether you use them as is or cut them apart to incorporate into your own project. It is fun to just look at and touch them. The linens bring back memories and creates visions of the past. You can dream about the person who may have worn an antique garment you find. I also have several linens from my mother. They are treasures I can pass down to my daughter.

  • Vonee Davison

    Wow that is a lot of tweaking of the cover! We as readers never realize how much goes into every issue! I have stacks and stacks of DZGNS. And would not part with a one of them! One day when I cross over from this life someone at my estate sale will benefit from all of them!

  • Debbie Smith

    Yes, I watch the ads for sewing items. Plan on going to a sale Saturday that has buttons. I loved going through the buttons in my Grandma’s sewing machine drawers. This week I found a stack of handkerchiefs and head scarves (family and purchased ones) that I have kept waiting to decide what project to put them to keep them special.